Calming a Child with ADHD Without Medication: Techniques and Lifestyle Tips

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. While medication can be highly effective for managing ADHD symptoms, many parents prefer to try non-pharmacological approaches first or use them alongside medication. The good news is there are many techniques and lifestyle changes that can help calm an ADHD child without the use of medication.

Establish Structure and Routine

Children with ADHD thrive on structure and routine. Creating set schedules for waking up, mealtimes, schoolwork, playtime, and bedtime helps provide stability and predictability that is comforting for kids with ADHD. Use visual schedules with pictures and keep consistent rituals for transitions between activities. Limit surprises and give warnings for upcoming changes to make shifting gears easier. Organizing the home and designating specific places for backpacks, toys, clothes etc. can also help maintain order.

Provide Frequent Breaks and Movement

Children with ADHD often have high levels of physical energy and limited ability to focus for long periods. Allowing regular breaks for movement during schoolwork or long activities enables an ADHD child’s body and brain to reset. Aim for a break every 20-30 minutes – go outside, do some jumping jacks, squeeze a stress ball, or take a short walk. Rotating through different tasks that require sitting, moving, and standing allows kids to modulate their activity levels throughout the day. Simple breathing exercises can also help redirect energy and promote calm.

Minimize Clutter and Distractions

Since ADHD makes focusing difficult, reducing clutter and distractions at home and in the classroom is imperative. Keep work and play spaces free of excess materials and toys to prevent sensory overload. Allow access to only one or two play options at a time and put other materials out of sight. Seat the child away from doors, windows, talkative peers etc. that can divert attention. Use headphones or white noise when focusing if auditory input is distracting. Ensure the child’s basic needs like water, healthy snacks etc. are met before starting schoolwork to limit disruptions.

Promote Healthy Sleep

Sleep issues are very common with ADHD. Getting adequate, quality sleep makes a big difference in behavior, attention, and mood regulation. Maintain a set bedtime with a consistent bedtime routine. Avoid screen exposure for 1-2 hours before bed and use white noise or calming music to promote restful sleep. Make sure the bedroom environment is optimized for sleep by adjusting temperatures, reducing light/noise, and providing comfortable sleepwear and bedding. Teach older kids relaxation techniques to quiet the mind before bed. Addressing any sleep disorders like sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome will also improve sleep for ADHD kids.

Incorporate More Physical Activity

Exercise and movement are natural ways to expend excess energy and calm the body in ADHD kids. Schedule outdoor playtime, sport practice, dance classes etc. several times a week. Sign them up for swimming, martial arts, gymnastics, or other highly active sports that help strengthen motor skills. Have regular active family time playing tag, biking, hiking etc. Set an organized schedule and build routines around physical exercise. Allow kids with ADHD to use stress balls, stretch bands, or other fidget items to release pent-up energy in class as needed. Just moving or marching in place can also help.

Use Positive Reinforcement

Since impulsivity and emotional reactivity are common ADHD traits, using positive reinforcement helps encourage good behavior. Praise them for focusing, completing work, waiting patiently etc. to motivate them. Set up a token economy or sticker chart with rewards they can earn for positive actions. Make rewards small but frequent to provide continuous encouragement. Choose rewards like extra tablet time, a special outing, or picking dinner that actually motivate them. Avoid punishments and yelling which can exacerbate challenging behaviors in ADHD kids.

Teach Calming Techniques

Simple calming strategies can help ADHD kids learn to self-regulate emotions and behaviors. Breathing exercises that involve slowly inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth induce relaxation. Progressive muscle relaxation starting at the toes and working upwards reduces tension. Listening to soothing music helps calm the mind as does repetition of mantras. Meditation and mindfulness teach ADHD children to focus inward and gain control. Removing themselves from a trigger to a quiet space prevents emotional escalations. Maintaining a “feel good” box of favorite fidget toys, books, photos or other comforting items provides an instant sense of calm.

In summary, managing ADHD without medication involves tailoring the child’s environment, lifestyle, and activities to minimize behavioral challenges. Setting structure and routine, allowing movement, reducing distractions, ensuring good sleep, incorporating regular exercise, using positive reinforcement, and teaching calming techniques can all help improve focus and behavior control in a child with ADHD. While medication has its place for many kids, parents can implement effective non-pharmacological strategies to help calm and empower an ADHD child.

High Quality Products
Free Shipping
Secure Checkout

MasterCard / Visa / PayPal

Money Back Guarantee