By Benjamin Blasco
The pandemic has created obvious health issues and also highlighted certain lifestyle aspects, which were either ignored or unknown earlier. Everyone is seeking short-term and long-term solutions. In such trying times, parenting can be challenging. Many are also living in matchbox-sized homes, especially in urban cities of India.
Amid this chaos, parents of hyperactive or ADHD kids face slightly heightened challenges. The pandemic related restrictions have added to the burden. All such parents want is to make sure that their child is able to cope up with staying at home. The child with an invisible condition can have his or her own challenges. It is also vital to understand their challenges of being quarantined in smaller homes.
As per a study, ADHD children worldwide make up to 2-7 percent. In India, a study done in Coimbatore discovered that the prevalence is more in Indian kids than world standards. It is 26.4 percent for children aged 9 and 25 percent for those aged 10. Around 66.7 percent men have been discovered with ADHD. Most are found suffering from various academic and behavioural issues.
Hyperactive kids in the pandemic
Despite children dealing with ADHD functioning better within a routine, the pandemic has created chaos with this very practice, including the shift to online schooling. A study in China has seen anger issues in almost two-third kids. Sticking to routine has been found tough among 56 percent of such kids, while almost the same percentage face difficulty in concentration. Many deal with anxiety and related psychological issues. The pandemic heightens it. Anxious parents can affect such kids. These parents find it tough to deal with home-schooling hyperactive kids. In short, it has been found that these kids face more challenges than others.
Taking the issue further, small homes can put pressure on any minds, especially if restricted to staying indoors for longer hours. For hyperactive kids, the feeling is compounded by the fact that they are unable to handle the claustrophobia and have no idea behind their behaviour. Smaller homes can be aggravating.
One of the major symptoms of ADHD is paying attention. Boredom can seep in too. Parents have a task to keep the child focused. Since the child is hyperactive, parents are already burdened and feel inadequate to help the child.
Educational institutes these days have the necessary gears to deal with the needs of every kid. Many also have in-house child psychologists. Parents feel relaxed with regards to their hyperactive child on normal school days. But online studies and small homes mean handling the child with little help.
Things to do
Trying to steady a hyperactive child in small homes just requires planning. Taking things one day at a time will help both the kids and the parents.
Setting a daily schedule
The first important thing to do is to create a routine, which allows the child to develop habits. This will bring some stability and reduce internal chaos. Make sure each task or ritual has a set timing. Keep a visible well-coordinated and colour-coded timetable. This calendar helps the child to set a routine and not get overwhelmed. Keeping the child busy and engaged is the main motive here and parents should keep that in mind.
Engage in exercise
Excess energy in hyperactive children needs to be channelised properly. Focus on movements would be great to make them attentive. And exercise is the answer. The benefits are multi-fold, right from physical to mental and emotional. A small house means restrictions. So, encourage the child to take up yoga. If you live in a building with a common terrace or compound area, use that space for some other games. There are many online classes available to keep the kids engaged within the walls of their house. Enrol kids in such classes
Small breaks are a good way to just relax. It can be anything from some food breaks, TV time or even reading or even nap time. If watching any musical show or listening to music, encourage them to dance and sing along. The child remains engaged, learns, uses the energy in something constructive and feels relaxed. Parents can join too. Talk to them about the programmes. The bonding will be great for interpersonal relations. And these activities do not require big space. You can also go out for small walks in the compound, terrace or park. Just be safe.
Whatever the situation, being mindful is a great way for the child to learn to deal with situations and be self-assured. The child learns to deal with things better without dependency. He or she can connect with others without tying one’s happiness to others. They know about solitude-related happiness but not loneliness.
Take them for mindful walks filled with silence. Everyone connects with silence and nature. The effects are profound. Eating mindfully does not require bigger space, but will help calm the child and focus on the food better. They will focus on everything regarding the meal. The child experiences the food better. A mindful digital detox can stop dependence on external factors to keep the child busy. Self-development comes through non-digital methods to observe things.
The madness around the pandemic allows everyone time to be thankful for everything that one has. It is a great way to teach the children about being grateful and be positive. The focus is looking at things daily that are all positive in one’s life.
All this has a calming and learning effect on hyperactive children in these times, irrespective of the size of the house.
(The writer is Co-Founder, Petit Bambou, a freemium mindfulness app)