Raising an ADHD child is an experience that no one can really understand except the parent of another ADHD child. By the end of the day, moms, dads, and kids are all exhausted mentally, physically and emotionally. As my daughter has gotten older, it is slowly getting better. But, I remember days when I just wanted to cry. During those times, I started learning what held her attention and gave her activities tailored to those interests. Then I figured out these same activities helped me calm down as well. It kept her focused and calm, and I could breathe and pull myself together. It saved my sanity!
(If this article interests you, check out “ADHD and the Hyperverbal Child. How to Help a Child Who Just Can’t Stop Talking.“)
Here is a list of activities that helps focus and calm the mind – both your’s and your child’s.
You can buy adult coloring books but I kind of like coloring my daughter’s kiddy coloring books. You can buy them online but they are usually available at the dollar store. That and a box of crayons and you’re set!
Paint by Number
For those of us who don’t like coloring books, a paint by number kit can be great, cheap fun. This is a little bit messier than coloring books but super entertaining!
The best thing about drawing or doodling is that all you need is a pen and a piece of paper. It really doesn’t have to cost anything. But you can invest in a pretty art journal to keep your doodles and drawings in. It’s like journaling without having to remember your day!
The simple, methodic method of this hobby is perfect to relax your mind. Don’t worry about making complicated patterns, like a cable sweater. This is just to relax your mind, not make you more frustrated! Once, I knitted a scarf that was seven feet long! It was just SO therapeutic to do the same two stitches over and over and over I just kept knitting until I was completely out of yarn!
Cross stitching only has one type of embroidery stitch so it’s easy and repetitive. There are literally thousands of patterns to suit your personality. It’s my personal favorite. You can also buy a kit to keep from having to invest a lot of money in floss and cross stitch fabric.
Jig Saw Puzzles
A great way to pass the time and block out distractions. You can get them at yard sales and thrift store for CHEAP. (Just remember that they might be missing a few pieces. You just won’t know until you have the puzzle finished!) The best thing about jigsaw puzzles is that they can be done as a group activity so the whole family can get in on the fun. I will pull out a jigsaw puzzle from time to time and, without fail, the whole family will eventually gravitate to it. Within an hour, we are ALL bent over the table, examining pieces and cracking jokes.
This is similar to drawing. Being fully aware of how you are making each letter can be mesmerizing. And, as a bonus, you improve your handwriting! If you like, you can even practice calligraphy.
This requires you to calm your mind and focus on one fold at a time until you’ve mastered the project. And, when you are done, you have a cute ornament. Well, maybe with some practice, you’ll have a cute ornament. But the point is to sit quietly and let your hands and mind be focused and calm. And, it doesn’t have to be expensive. This starter kit is only $3.10 on Amazon.
Using clay or playdough, this is wonderful for people who constantly need to be doing something with their hands. It’s like squeezing a stress ball, only better. (Honestly, stress balls made me more stressed for some reason.) You don’t have to be an artist to enjoy sculpting. You just need fidgety hands! But if you want to keep your creations, Apoxie Sculpt clay is a great choice because it doesn’t have to be baked in the oven but hardens beautifully. It’s what my daughters always uses.
Finding an activity to relax your mind and keep your hands busy can be great therapy for you, the stressed parent, and your ADHD child. Introducing my daughter to drawing, painting, and sculpting saved my sanity. But, just as important, it helped her calm down and focus her mind. Anything that can help an ADHD kid do that gets a thumbs up in my book!
What activities have you discovered that help you and/or your child relax? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!