Managing ADHD at Home Without Medication

Is it possible to manage ADHD at home without medication?

 It’s a commitment, but it can be done.

There I was in the doctor’s office. My son was actually trying to climb the walls. Not figuratively, not literally, but actually trying to climb the walls. I was tired, overwhelmed, distressed, frustrated and out of ideas. We were no longer effectively able to manage his ADHD at home. The doctor suggested medication, and I said yes. This was a huge decision that my husband and I struggled with for a few months.

Never forget a child with ADHD has so much to offer. 

We are in charge of helping them find what they need to succeed.

They may feel just as frustrated with themselves.

To manage ADHD at home had become a task we just couldn’t seem to figure out. If we thought we had it figured out, the next week we didn’t. Clearly by the title of this article, I mean to talk about managing ADHD without medication, not with medication. Let’s just say that medication was not helping us, and it certainly wasn’t helping him. We had simply replaced one set of challenges with another. So we stopped giving it to him. Moving forward we still had to learn how to manage ADHD at home, so we could all enjoy our time together.

Here are our 3 steps  to manage ADHD at home without medication.

This is not an overnight, over the weekend, or even an over the school vacation week solution. It will take time and dedication. You will need to continue these steps until your child has grown into the capability of regulating his own ADHD needs. Until then, we needed to all work together to manage ADHD in our house. Yes, he does still try to climb walls, but that’s just who he is. The goal is not to change our child but to help him feel better and be more in control.

1. Observe what works best for your child and maximize it to manage ADHD in your home.

Observe your child.  What activities does he do where he seems calm and focused? We had always noticed that our son could sit for up to an hour while we read picture books and now Magic Tree House Books. He pays attention, sits quietly, and interacts with us as we read. So how do we use that information to manage ADHD? We spend extra time reading with him when he seems to need it. He also enjoys swimming. The pressure of the water on his body and the feel of the water are very calming for him. People always think that you need to make sure kids with ADHD need to get out and run but some forms of activity although fun can be over stimulating. We try to take him swimming as many times a week as possible. Often we will have very simple dinners so we are sure to have enough time at our YMCA before bedtime. 

2. Expectations help your child understand what should be expected for different activities.

We continually review expectations in our house to manage ADHD. We use expectations instead of rules to offer him a level of control over himself. We use lists of expectations for bedtime, meal times, swim times, play ground times. Some lists we keep very simple, maybe 3 expectations for the grocery store. Some lists are longer because we have been working on them longer like 8 expectations for bedtime. It’s important to not overwhelm your child with to many expectations but limit to the most important ones and work from there. Right now we are working on meal times and he has 4 expectations. He is expected to keep his hands and feet to himself, remain seated or on his knees and facing the table, ask to be done, and clear his own plate.

3. Along with expectations comes parental consistency.

You can not give your child expectations if you do not intend help your child learn them. You need to be consistent to manage ADHD in your home. Consistency isn’t always fun and it certainly brings along tears sometimes. It is worth the effort. Being consistent is hard work. You are tired. It’s been a long day. I understand. Your child however, needs you to be consistent with your expectations. Not only will consistency help him learn the expectations quicker, it may help him feel calmer and more organized. If he thinks “sometimes mom or dad let’s me do this but sometimes they let me do that” you are not being consistent. If you are not consistent, how can your child meet your expectations.

We all want what is best for our family. 

For our family, we needed to find a way we could manage ADHD in our home and be happy.

It is still an ever-changing work in progress, but there have been many positive changes.


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