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.