Pills Don't Teach Skills

One Man's Personal Battle with Adult Attention Deficit Disorder

Pets & Kids With ADD

Any problems with being medically prescribed a pet to help with their ADD?

In my never ending reading, research and learning......I've come across yet another way we can win the battle against ADD. It appears kids who have ADHD can benefit from having a pet, caring for it and best of all, playing with a pet too! Imagine having that conversation with your kids, it might look like this:

Dad - "son, you have ADD and we feel that it will help you if we get a cute little puppy"
Kid - "Awesome!"

Ya, not too many kids out there will have any problems with being medically prescribed a pet to help with their ADD. Here are a few ways that kids caring for their pet can help them with learning to manage their ADD:
• A pet can teach a child with ADHD to schedule and plan ahead. Pets require a schedule for feeding, walking, bathing etc. Once your child becomes accustomed to following the pet's schedule, it will be easier for him to follow a schedule for homework, chores or extra-curricular activities.
• If your child has lots of excess energy, playing with a pet can help with that. Your child can burn off energy walking a dog or running around with a kitten, making her more relaxed later in the day.
• Kids with ADHD are used to their parents trying to calm them down or reprimanding them. A pet offers unconditional love and will not criticize a child for having too much energy. Animals are great listeners and can build up a child's self-confidence.
• Child psychiatrists may use pets in therapy with ADHD children. For instance, dogs can be used to teach behavioral modification techniques to the children and their parents.
• Trying to live up to other people's expectations despite the difficulty can put stress on your child. Petting an animal or even just sitting near one can reduce stress.
• Children with ADHD may have difficulties with social interaction. When your child plays outside with a pet, other kids will automatically want to join in. When you invite a child to your home for a playdate, the pet is a great icebreaker.
• Outdoor exercise can be extremely beneficial to kids with ADHD. Fresh air and good circulation from aerobic exercise increases oxygen-filled blood flow to a child's brain. If your child walks her dog in the morning before school she will have an easier time concentrating in the classroom.

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Jeff Hamilton writes about the challenges of living with Adult Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

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