Create a Personal Cave
With our kids, we want to harness the energy of the hyperactive brain and provide healthy outlets for managing stimulation seeking behaviors. AND, we have to remember to manage over-stimulation, as well.
A lot of kids with ADHD can be really hyper and energetic, but also easily over-stimulated. If they are the ones spinning around like a Tazmanian devil or a poodle on caffeine, they are fine. But put them in a room with other chaotic energy – a loud television or music, a screaming or screeching sibling, or an angry parent – and they can become quite overwhelmed.
If your child prefers having quiet, or his or her own space, create a space in your home for your child to retreat, a “cave” to escape from the intensity of the environment long enough for your child to center herself. It doesn’t have to be a lot of space – it just needs to be a designated space that is guaranteed to let your child be left alone for a few minutes to regroup. Like a self-imposed time-out space that is restorative. It can be in his room (one of our sons literally created a “man cave” with L-shaped bunk beds, and tied up an extra sheet to cover the entrance), or outside (there’s nothing quite like a good climbing tree), a pop-up tent, a closet that’s not full of junk, or even a window seat. Most important, your child has to see it as a safe space.
Hyperactivity is one manifestation of your child’s challenges with regulating energy. Over-stimulation is another way that it shows up. So instead of waiting until your child shuts down, give him a space to recuperate.