Wonder if anyone on here has experience of both parent and child having ADHD? You’d think there would be a level of understanding, which there is, but finding it extremely difficult atm, especially with a 5 week old as well thrown into the mix. Any help or coping mechanisms would be extremely appreciated.
Thanks for sharing your situation. It can't be easy negotiating ADHD in both parent and child plus a newborn too! (But congratulations on the birth of the newborn 😀)
I hope the following can be of some help to you:
So, for the child (But many of these following pointers will help the adult too)
If you can, Plan the Day so your child knows what to expect. Routines are generally good for all of us, but for a child with ADHD it can offer security and structure and peace of mind in knowing what is going to happen. Obviously you may have to be a little flexible if possible, as a five week old baby probably won't have an established routine just yet, but it's never too early to start! If it helps, make a list of approximate times that baby will feed, and sleep and work your routine around them. You may also need to explain to your child that whilst baby is so young things may need to be more flexible for a little while. You don't say how old your child is, but it may be a good thing to let the school know that a change in family circumstances may affect their routine for a while.
Set clear boundaries - know what behaviour is expected from everyone. A good way to illustrate this is to sit down as a family and discuss and then make some 'home rules'. For example No Swearing = Speak respectfully to one another = Consequence maybe time out.
Be Positive - Make sure your praise is specific. Instead of 'thanks for helping with baby', you could say 'thank you for getting me babys nappy. That was really helpful'. This helps those with ADHD because the praise is clear and specific.
Giving Instructions - try to use 'I' sayings. "I would like you to hang your coat up please." This way is not only polite but specific.
Rewards and Incentives - depending on the age of the child, this is a good way to encouraging and getting children to do something that they will learn to do by habit, but may need some reward in the first instance to help them along. For example, a sticker chart with the action listed what you want them to carry out - teeth brushing may be one - if they brush their teeth 5 out of 7 days then they get a reward. If they do all 7 days then a more substantial reward can be discussed. Make a 'grab bag' - this is a bag of instant rewards, that can be given out when a child has done well immediately. This is especially good if you know your child will have found something particularly hard to do.
Use early intervention methods to calm a situation down before it escalates. You know your child best. The same for the adult too. What things can be put in place to ensure that the current situation can be as calm and organised as possible?
Keep social situations short and don't overdo, especially if you are both feeling tired and/or hungry.
Exercise as much as you can - perhaps find something you can do together, but not near bedtime. Exercise will wear you out and hopefully improve quality of sleep.
Bedtime routine - really important and needs to be consistent. The same time each night regardless of wether it is school or holidays. NO electronics for at least an hour before going to sleep. Find a quiet activity if possible. If sleep is interrupted because of baby, then reassure the child but stress that it is sleep time and not to get up until morning time. Perhaps a clock in their room may help.
Finally for the adult, it is mainly all of the above, but if it helps to make lists and keep a journal of all that is going on, then do so. Find a way that helps. If you work, speak to your employer about how life has changed at the moment - five week olds means loss of sleep - but it won't last forever.
Lastly, if you find that it is all getting too much, I would strongly advise you to contact your GP who will then be able to sign post you to the relevant support network. Well done for reaching out on here, I wish you and your family well,
Kind regards, Fegans Parent Support Volunteer