Tips On Sports For Children With ADHD

sports children ADHD
There are many questions that parents have about children with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), and a common one often revolves around whether such children should participate in organized sports. Not only is the answer here a resounding yes, as children with ADHD are perfectly capable of these and most other normal child activities, but many parents of such children find that sports activities benefit them in specific ways - as long as they're properly moderated.

At Learning Technics, we're proud to offer quality ADHD behavioral therapy programs, both at home and in other settings, plus expertise on all things to do with this common condition. What are some of the chief benefits of playing organized sports for kids with ADHD, and what are some additional considerations parents should have in mind during these activities? Here's everything you need to know.

Physical Exercise is Vital for All Children

One area where children with ADHD do not differ whatsoever from other children is in their need to get regular physical exercise. Exercise helps keep the body healthy and functioning, but can also help regulate moods and offer calming effects for children with ADHD. It's important that parents ensure their child has enough time for regular physical activity each day, whether it be a sport or something else.

In fact, exercise is often particularly important for kids who manage ADHD. It’s been shown to help improve focus and attention, reduce impulsiveness, and increase self-motivation. For these reasons, many experts recommend exercise as a potential supplement to traditional ADHD medications or behavioral therapies.

Positive Social Interactions

Another major benefit to participating in organized sports for kids with ADHD is the potential for positive social interactions. Many children with ADHD have difficulty making friends, and may be more prone to lashing out or acting impulsively.

Organized sports give these children an opportunity to interact in a safe environment while also learning life skills such as teamwork and respect. Additionally, these children may find that they excel in sports, which can give them a sense of accomplishment and boost their self-esteem.

Feelings of Accomplishment

Another key benefit of organized sports for kids with ADHD is the feeling of accomplishment that comes from being able to participate and do well in an activity. Many children with ADHD might feel like they can't stay focused or concentrate long enough to finish something, but participating in a team sport allows them to measure their success and track their progress more easily. This gives them the opportunity to build confidence and feel proud of themselves.

Individual or Team Sports?

Many parents wonder whether they should be looking more at team or individual sports for a child with ADHD, and the answer here will depend heavily on the child's individual preferences and needs. For some children, team sports provide a great way to build social connections and develop skills such as collaboration and communication.

Individual sports may be the best choice for others, however, since they can allow the child greater freedom of expression and less risk of feeling overwhelmed by too many people or expectations. Ultimately, the best choice should be based on the child's interests and needs.

Possible Challenges or Parental Assistance Areas

In some cases, it's possible that children who manage ADHD may have certain unique challenges or needs that come up while playing sports. As a parent, here are some of the chief areas to keep an eye on in this regard:
  • Regulating attention: As any parent of a child with ADHD well knows, one of the more common issues with this condition is difficulty regulating attention. Parents should specifically be aware of how often their child appears to lose focus during sports activities, and if needed can look into potential strategies for better managing attention, such as creating a simple pre-game ritual that helps the child stay focused.
  • Regulating emotions: Down related lines, because sports can be both engaging and emotional for many kids, parents should look out for any signs that their child is having difficulty regulating their emotions. If needed, they can talk to the child's coach and look into potential strategies for better managing these emotions, such as deep breathing or using positive self-talk.
  • Motivation concerns: Because kids with ADHD can sometimes have difficulty maintaining motivation and sustaining focus on long-term goals, parents should also be aware of this potential issue. If needed, they can work with their child to set small achievable goals related to the sport that will help build a sense of accomplishment. But overall, the concept of enjoyment within sports should be the top priority - if your child is not having fun, then they likely won't want to participate.
  • Communication: Finally, the importance of communication in the context of kids with ADHD and sports can't be overstated. Between parents and coaches, there should be a strong back-and-forth flow of information so that any potential issues related to the child's condition can be addressed promptly (and without making them a pariah among their peers).

Ultimately, while there may be certain challenges to consider when it comes to children with ADHD and organized sports, it's important to remember that these kids are just as capable of participating in such activities as any other child. With the right guidance, support, and strategies, they can benefit immensely from engaging in sports - both for physical development but also for emotional growth and self-esteem.

For more here, or to learn about any of our cognitive behavioral therapy programs for ADHD or various learning disabilities, speak to our caring staff at Learning Technics today.