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Wild Child

Oh yeah, the wild one. The one who can’t stop moving, can’t stay on task, and is super creative. You know the one. And all that chaos, it’s actually a superpower. 

Preschoolers are known to be little balls of energy. Heck, I just had two cups of extra strength java, and I’m still no match for my little spaz. It’s a challenge to get our little ones to listen, transition from one task to another, and just sit still for a minute. And all this wild child behavior can feel like bad behavior, especially if you have a kid who displays traits of ADHD. Truth is, it’s not bad—it’s a superpower!

Whether your child struggles with ADHD or neurodivergent behavior, learning how to cultivate and find productive ways to connect rather than correct can help our littles become the superheroes they are meant to be. 

Think different. 

Kids with ADHD are often misunderstood for being non-linear thinkers, scatter-brained perhaps, but this kind of idea processing is actually a characteristic of great problem solving, creativity, and can lead to hyper-focussed thinking where big ideas are born. 

How to help:

  • Watch for signs of a true passion and encourage your child’s interests.
  • Help them break their time into chunks, like 20-minutes. 
  • Give them safe environments to experience and experiment with their hyperactivity and impulsivity. 
  • Be patient!

Tour de force. 

Our sprightly tykes come with loads of restless energy. Harness it. Hyperactivity is probably the most common trait of people with ADHD, and it’s also one of some of the greatest athletes. This excess energy allows for aptitudes in sports and physical activities. It can also be routed into being a great catalyst for resilience. When we connect with our kids’ needs rather than correcting them, we can guide them to use failure and that extreme energy to become confident powerhouses. 

How to help:

  • RUN! Let them play, try sports, #getoutside. 
  • Before doing slower, quiet tasks, make sure they’ve had the chance to get that energy out! 
  • Provide LOTS of positive feedback. Kids with ADHD generally have lower self esteems because of constant negative feedback and labeling. Ensure you give twice as much positive feedback as negative and foster forward-focussed goals—not punishment. 

Step into the twilight zone.

Was Hunter S. Thompson talking about preschoolers when he said, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn professional.”? The way kids think and live is total chaos, amirite? Times that by two if your child has ADHD. Take a trip into the cosmos with them and you might discover how that chaos is constructive creativity. It also explains why your living room looks like a toy bomb exploded. It’s super frustrating to keep things in order, get your child on-task, and feel some semblance of control. It’s also a window into their brains and the workings of them. 

How to help:

  • ROUTINES! Let me say that again. Routines help kids (and adults) thrive. Further, giving deadlines and plenty of warning about transitions can make things go much more smoothly (i.e., you have 5 minutes before dinner). 
  • Encourage and talk about emotions. Maybe that “bad behavior” has an explanation. By giving your child the time and space to talk, you might learn that there is a reason behind their emotions and behaviors. 
  • Acknowledge and accept that our kids cannot manage their emotions yet. They are living in what’s called the reptilian brain. They can’t control their emotions, but we can. We can help them understand their emotions if we let them feel them. So, let them have that meltdown and just hold space. 

Our little superheroes don’t even know about their superpowers yet. We can give them the tools they need to face their own kryptonite– whatever that may be. Breathe deep and take a walk on the wild side. And most importantly, when things get rough, hug it out.