Tradition Calls for...
Do you want to help your child concentrate? Most of us want to figure out how to help, but it's easier said than done. Traditional parenting advice tells us to limit distractions and noise for our children, and sometimes this is exactly what our kids need most.
But other times, it's not. Some kids with ADHD actually get distracted by too much silence. In fact, the silence can be deafening.
Break From Tradition – Investigate, Instead
So, does your child need noise or silence for ADHD management? If you want to help your child concentrate, I suggest that you do a little “science experiment” with your child.
Work with your child to test out your child's “relationship” between noise and silence, and concentration. Does your child prefer music? Music with words? Music without? Is talking okay, but music annoying? What about a TV show? Can your child “tune it out” if it's been seen before, but not if it's a new episode?
I'm not saying that your kid should do homework in front of the TV set.
But I want you to be open to the idea that what is distracting for you might be the opposite for your child, or visa versa
I remember Elaine telling me that when she was a kid she could only do her homework if there was noise on, like a TV in the background, but not too close. But she couldn't concentrate at all if there was music playing. Now, she needs quiet for reading and writing, but needs noise for “busywork.” Some kids can do math with music on, but need quiet for reading. Other kids do really well with noise-cancelling headphones (with no noise on) when they really need to concentrate.
Noise tolerance is a very individual decision, and it often changes depending on the kind of concentration or attention that is required.
So as a parent, instead of assuming that quiet is best, spend a little time investigating different things that help your child concentrate. Explore whether noise or silence is most helpful in managing ADHD. Check your assumptions at the door, and help your kids determine what works best for them.