Using exercises for children with ADHD is believed to be an important part of the treatment process. Practicing these exercises regularly helps children burn excess energy, improve their ability to concentrate, remember and think better.
The role of exercises with children with ADHD
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a chronic neurodevelopmental disorder that affects many children worldwide. ADHD symptoms are often ongoing and persist into adulthood.
ADHD is characterized by conditions in which children cannot maintain concentration, are hyperactive, and even appear impulsive, disruptive, and hostile behaviors. This causes children to face a lot of problems, hindering their studies as well as their daily lives.
Despite many studies, experts have not been able to find a specific cause for this disease. Therefore, the treatment of ADHD in children encounters many difficulties. In addition to medical methods, parents are advised to perform exercises specifically for children with ADHD.
These exercises can include both physical exercises and exercises that improve the brain and thinking ability. There should be a mix of types of exercise so that children with ADHD get the most benefit.
Physical exercises are often practiced with the aim of releasing excess energy. At the same time, it enhances overall health, helps the child’s mind to be relaxed and comfortable, and reduces anxiety.
Meanwhile, brain training exercises help children improve their ability to concentrate. Help children develop thinking, intelligence and enhance memory. Practicing simple exercises can help children improve their concentration while studying. At the same time, pay attention to the advice of parents, teachers and adults.
In addition, supporting children to practice exercises will also help strengthen the parent-child relationship. Thereby helping ADHD children improve their self-esteem and form responsibility in life.
10 Exercises for Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
One of the great challenges of dealing with ADHD in children is that these children tend to be hyperactive, have short attention spans, and frequently engage in impulsive behavior.
Behavior problems will increase if the child’s excess energy is not addressed. In addition, children also have reckless behaviors that are easy to cause injuries and accidents. For example, driving too fast, climbing stairs carelessly, crossing the street without paying attention, etc.
Here are 10 exercises that can help improve symptoms of ADHD in children:
1. Swimming helps burn excess energy in children with ADHD
Swimming has long been considered a good relaxing activity for a variety of medical conditions. In particular, for children with ADHD, swimming can help burn excess energy. This helps children not to turn their excess energy into socially inappropriate actions such as shouting or being rough.
In addition, swimming can also help reduce the need for medication. Although medication is still needed to keep the child more focused on slow activities such as schoolwork. However, high-energy activities like swimming can be stimulating enough to help children need less medication but stay alert and focused on the task at hand.
Repetitive swimming helps children focus on a group of movements and refine those movements. In addition, this sport also has the ability to stimulate the senses. Being alert to smells, sounds, and touches in a swimming pool will help train your child’s brain to fight ADHD.
2. Martial arts exercises for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Children with ADHD are often said to lack discipline. However, this is often just a manifestation of their excess energy and difficulty in regulating their activities. A lot of kids with ADHD tend to resist team sports because they don’t follow the rules.
Martial arts is a very suitable exercise for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Because martial arts classes are often designed with a fast pace. Furthermore, there are short and simple instructions for each move. Martial arts also often incorporate a variety of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic cues.
Many studies have shown that martial arts contributes to the creation of new neural pathways in the brain. This helps to improve both concentration and emotional regulation. While in both these areas, children with ADHD have difficulties. In addition, martial arts can boost confidence and self-esteem in children.
Various martial arts exercises can be helpful with children with ADHD. You can take your child to a martial arts class such as karate, wrestling or Japanese fencing. Children will practice fine motor skills. It also promotes concentration and mental activity in a fun way.
3. Meditation and Yoga
Children with ADHD often tend to struggle with anxiety. Anxiety can be precisely defined as excess mental energy directed inward.
Mindfulness meditation and yoga both work in ways that help children with ADHD develop mentally. Also get in the mood to fight intrusive thoughts that lead to feelings of anxiety or boredom.
Meditation and yoga can be used to teach children how to recognize the mind-body connection. From there return to their equilibrium when they start to feel tired or impulsive.
In fact, meditation and yoga have been shown to enhance attentional control. It’s also good for the forebrain – the part of the brain involved with attention, planning and impulse control. Besides, it also increases the level of dopamine in the brain to create a feeling of pleasure.
4. Strength training exercises
Endurance training is considered a very good exercise for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. However, adult supervision is required when children are just starting to use free weights or exercise machines to exercise.
Children with ADHD may be bullied because of their unusual or impulsive behavior. This usually comes from peers. Having good physical strength can translate into mental and emotional strength. This helps children fight bullying.
In addition, endurance training also creates strong motivation for children. From there, help children successfully complete the tasks and goals set. Overcoming obstacles in a controlled manner will have a positive effect on morale.
Strength training exercises don’t just give kids with ADHD confidence and physical resilience. More than that, it also establishes healthy lifelong habits for children to promote mental health in the future. It also has a positive effect on neurodevelopment.
5. Countdown exercise from 10 – 0
Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can easily read aloud from 0 to 10. However, when counting backwards, children face many difficulties and are easily confused due to poor concentration. Counting down from 10 to 0 is a very simple exercise that parents can ask their children to do when they have free time.
At first, children often appear confused, so parents need to suggest when children take too long and still can’t count down. Help from parents will motivate children to complete assignments. If left for too long, the child may get bored, lose his temper and refuse to practice the exercise.
If the child’s ability to concentrate is too poor, parents can read a shorter sequence of numbers (only about 3-4 numbers). Then ask the child to count backwards. Although quite simple, this exercise will help children with ADHD train their thinking ability and improve concentration.
6. Music and dance
Music and emotions are closely related. Music in both learning and dance instruments can help children with ADHD overcome attention barriers, experts say. Also learn to focus on positive activities.
While some children with ADHD can easily learn an instrument, others need a music-oriented activity that focuses on movement. Dancing is the best example.
Taking music classes such as violin or piano lessons can provide many of the same benefits for children with ADHD as specialized individual activities. Music and dance exercises will help children not get bored. The continuous absorption of new information combined with the activation of the senses will help children pay better attention.
7. Memorization exercises with cards
Memory exercises with cards are very suitable for children under 10 years old with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Parents should choose cards with bright colors and simple shapes. For example, cards about animals or vegetables, candies for children to remember.
Initially, you should only use about 2-3 cards to show the child the content. Then turn all the cards over and ask the child to read the contents of the cards to see if they are correct. This exercise will help children practice concentration and improve memory effectively.
When doing memorization exercises with cards, parents should prepare rewards to make children feel more excited. In addition, parents can let children play with siblings or other relatives.
8. Image copying exercise
For children who have the ability to paint, in addition to allowing children to draw and color, parents can let children practice copying pictures. Should start with simple pictures such as circles, triangles, fruits, animals, etc. Then gradually increase the difficulty level of the picture.
Copying pictures is considered to be a beneficial exercise for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. When practicing this exercise, your child’s memory ability will improve significantly. In addition, your child will also pay more attention to details and practice patience.
9. Hidden object game
Hidden objects cup is a game capable of stimulating thinking and enhancing memory in young children. Moreover, this is also a very good support exercise for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
The hidden object game is done by placing objects inside the cup (parents should choose a colored plastic cup so that the child cannot see the object inside). Then move the cup and stop and ask the child which cup the object is in.
At the beginning of the game, parents should move the cup slowly with 2 cups to make it easier for children to observe. Then you can increase the number of cups and the speed of movement to attract the attention and concentration of the child.
10. Walking exercises for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Like many children, children with ADHD are often advised to be outdoors when the weather is nice. Scientific studies have shown that walking in a natural environment is a very good exercise for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Walking helps children burn excess energy efficiently. Hiking is a moderate activity that helps children exercise. At the same time, it helps to prevent the child’s hyperactivity from turning into negative actions.
In addition, walking in nature helps reduce negative ADHD symptoms. Children who spend about 20 minutes a day walking have significantly reduced rates of negative ADHD symptoms and behaviors compared to children who do not have access to a natural environment.
In addition, walking can help improve weaknesses associated with ADHD, such as problems with inattention and concentration. Moreover, regular walking also helps to reduce excess weight and limit children using electronic devices too much.
Note when performing exercises for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Experts say that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder tends to have an early onset. In which, most cases of this disease will have to live with the disease for the rest of their lives.
In addition to psychotherapy and drug use, practicing exercises for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is also an effective support measure. It helps children gain the skills they need to manage symptoms, improve concentration and memory, for later life.
However, when giving children practice exercises, parents need to pay attention to a few issues:
- It is necessary to base on the age as well as the ability of the child to choose appropriate exercises. Parents can talk to a psychologist for advice on the most appropriate exercise for their child’s condition.
- In fact, there are many different exercises and activities that are appropriate for children with ADHD. However, it may take a little experimentation to help your child find interest.
- Some children with ADHD may drop out of assignments halfway through because it’s hard for them to sustain long-term attention. Parents should use short and easy-to-understand questions to point out their child’s mistakes. Absolutely avoid scolding children.
- Children can practice the exercises with siblings or family members. It is advisable to prepare a reward or praise for the child after completing the exercise.
- Some children may run and jump while practicing the exercises. At this time, parents should remind and ask the child to return to the main issue. If the child does not cooperate, the exercise should be stopped and changed to a more interesting exercise the next day.
- Exercises will help children improve concentration, memory as well as creativity. However, parents need to give children regular exercise in parallel with psychotherapy and medication.
- In addition, parents also need to pay attention to children eating healthy, full of nutrients from fresh and clean foods.
- At the same time, change the way of education to train children with good habits, reduce unwanted emotions and behaviors.
Here are 10 very useful exercises for children with ADHD. Parents should let children practice combining both physical exercises with brain training to get the best results. You can consult a psychologist for advice on exercises that best suit your child’s condition.