Concern around COVID-19 and the social restrictions that have been put in place to reduce the spread of the virus can impact on mental health and well-being. The constant news headlines, uncertainty around the virus and its future impact, and the need to constantly adapt to the ever-changing physical distancing requirements can be stressful to navigate, especially for children with ADHD and their families.
In this article
- Ideas to help your child stay connected with friends during lockdown.
How could COVID-19 affect children with ADHD?
The first thing to say is that it’s totally natural for children to feel a range of emotions during periods of uncertainty and change. These emotions might vary from feeling angry, sad, worried, and frustrated. At times they may feel quite relaxed and calm.
Encourage your children to be accepting of their feelings and to be kind to themselves during this time.
Some children with ADHD may experience especially high levels of apprehension or worry about COVID-19. They might be more withdrawn or clingy, more emotionally reactive or have more trouble with daily tasks like getting ready for the day, having trouble sleeping or eating regular meals.
Some children might enjoy spending more time at home, while others may find the changes to their home routine overwhelming and difficult to adapt to.
The changes around education delivery, along with the distractions associated with being at home, may also negatively affect their ability to engage in and complete their school work to their usual standard.
How to support the mental health and well-being of your child with ADHD during COVID-19
The good news is that there are several things that you can try to support your child’s mental health and wellbeing during this period of change and uncertainty:
Fun ideas to entertain your children at home
- Create a scavenger hunt
- Play balloon volleyball
- Have a dance party
- Build a fort or cubby
- Create an art project
- Race to complete jigsaws
- Bake cookies, cakes, or homemade pizzas
- Play Twister, cards or board games
- Take a virtual tour of an art gallery or zoo
- Keep a ‘What am I grateful for today’ record
Ideas to help your child stay connected with friends during lockdown.
- Watch a virtual movie with friends via Netflix Party
- Write to a pen pal
- Eat lunch with a friend virtually
- Draw a quarantine rainbow
If your child tests positive to COVID-19
If your child tests positive for the COVID-19 virus or develops a mild case of COVID-19 they can continue taking their ADHD medication. However, if they develop severe symptoms including breathing difficulties please seek medication advice from their treating paediatrician, physician or psychiatrist.
Temporary Distance Education
We are at the beginning of understanding how distance learning is going to look. We have included some initial pointers below but will provide further guidance as time progresses.
For most children, home is their place of peace and safety while school is where they go to formally learn. It is important to protect and maintain your child’s safe space and to prioritise their physical and mental wellbeing over their academic achievement.
Temporary home-schooling is really crisis home-schooling and should not be confused with traditional home-schooling which is a choice. Much of the routine, learning structure, support and reward for the effort that school offers children with ADHD may not transpire effectively over to temporary home-schooling in the first instance.
Teachers will need time to adjust their teaching style in order to meet each child’s individual developmental stage, attention and processing capacity, learning style and personality.
Children with ADHD may struggle to successfully self-organise their school work and may struggle to complete tasks independently.
Therefore, try to set realistic expectations of your child and if in doubt, presume ‘they would if they could’ and choose your relationship with your child above anything else. Keep the communication lines open with your child’s teacher and gently advocate for your child’s needs.
More resources for helping our child through COVID-19
Access more resources to help your child learn at home during a time of crisis. If your child is really struggling contact your child’s teacher, school welfare officer or vice-principal. You can also discuss this with any professional your child is currently engaged with.