Babysitting can be hard, especially when children have behavioral disorders. For instance, children with ADHD can get easily distracted and quickly jump from one activity to another. This can cause the child to forget your rules, which can be frustrating for both of you. Here are some tips on how to babysit children with ADHD.
Tip 1: Ask the parents any questions you have.
If you are nervous about caring for a child with ADHD, that is normal. Unless you know someone else with ADHD and have spent a lot of time with them, you might not know what to expect. Regardless of how much you know about ADHD, it is perfectly acceptable to ask the parents any questions you might have. This way, you will know what your expectations are. It will be a little less nerve-racking if you know what to expect.
Tip 2: Get to know the child.
Before you do any activities with the child, remember that you want to connect with him or her. This will not only allow you to register the child’s mood and behavior at that moment, but it will also make your job easier and more fun. The more positive you are, the more likely the child will respond the same way. It is easy for people to assume that children with ADHD are always disobedient and hyperactive, but this is not the case at all. You need to meet the individual child and learn about his or her favorite activities in order to form a bond.
Tip 3: Do the priority task first.
If the parents asked you to make sure that their child does homework before anything else, honor that request. If you already established a good connection with the child, it will not be that hard to get started. However, if the child is already acting out, try to compromise. Promise the child that the second his or her homework is done, he or she can pick the next activity. If this still does not work, call the parents and do what they suggest. If they do not answer the phone, at least they will know that you tried to do the best thing possible.
Tip 4: Be encouraging.
ADHD can be very frustrating for children. Some of them take a long time to do homework because they forget what they are doing and/or they ask to do something else. Remember that this condition is not their fault. Try to be patient and give the child positive words of affirmation. Just a few kind words can make a big difference, especially if the child rarely hears them.
Tip 5: Award good behavior.
Perhaps a child was not cooperative at first, but he or she became more focused with the help of your encouragement. It might have taken a lot of time and effort on your part, but this child finished the required task. This is a weight off both of you. Let the child have the first say in the next activity. If the child cannot decide what to do, suggest something appropriate for the weather. If the weather is nice, do something fun outside.
Tip 6: Be honest with the parents.
If the child did not behave the entire time you babysat, try not to take it personally. The parents have probably dealt with the same behavior every day. It is okay to admit that you could not get the child to do focus or complete their homework, for example. The parents should be understanding and appreciative of your time and effort nonetheless.
Hopefully, some of these tips about how to babysit children with ADHD will help you. Remember that you are doing a great thing and making a positive difference in a child’s life, even when it might not seem like it.