All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Sports and games are necessary for physical and mental development in children. But what about kids with ADHD, who have special needs? Scroll below to learn which are the best sporting activities for an ADHD-affected child.
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a chronic learning and developmental disorder that occurs in approximately 3-5% of the world’s school-going population. Living with this disorder is difficult for the affected child and his/her family. Out of the various treatments that help ease ADHD, physical exercise is very useful and has a long-term impact on reducing the condition and helping the affected child live normally. So, engaging a child with ADHD in sports and games is an effective way to expend all his/hers pent-up energy and is a great way to encourage good social habits. Below are some sports and games that help reduce symptoms of ADHD in kids.
What Makes a Good ADHD Sport?
While there are many sporting activities and games for youngsters, there are some sports which are perfect for children with ADHD. Below are some factors regarding sports for kids with ADHD:
- Pick a sport which is not too complex or involves a lot of thinking and solving.
- Choose sports where a child can quickly grasp rules and gameplay.
- Outdoor sports, where there are wide open spaces and a different playing environment are a good choice.
- The sport should be physically intense with active gameplay and less bench time.
- Adult supervision at all times, be it coaches or teachers or instructors, is necessary.
- With team sports, specialized attention should be given to each member or a beginner’s level of difficulty should be used.
- Most important: the child should be interested or passionate about the sport. It is very difficult to persuade a child to play a game if he/she is not interested.
Best Sports Activities for Kids with ADHD
ADHD and Team Sports
How does being part of a team help with the symptoms of ADHD in children? Firstly, teamwork and getting along with others makes a child feel wanted and part of something bigger than him/herself. It teaches the child responsibility, as his/her role in the team can make or break the outcome of a game. It’s also a great way to meet new kids and make friends as well as strengthen bonds of friendship between old friends. Social niceties and manners are automatically imparted.
Secondly, team sports have a central figure or group of leaders, who help, support and govern the team. This encourages an ADHD child to recognize and respect authority and how to behave under it. Bonds are formed, the child is taught how respect is earned and the importance of praise and criticism. His/her self-esteem and sense of self worth is built up. A coach also serves as an ideal role model and leadership figure.
Team sports have an intense and action-packed gameplay. Running around, training, warming up and down and even the thrill of competition, all help an ADHD kid expend all that stored up energy and acts as a release outlet. With certain sports like baseball or cricket, where there is benchtime or downtime, an ADHD kid can get bored and restless, while waiting for some form of activity.
An important point when it comes to playing as a team, is the child must understand which types of behavior are allowed and which are not. Aggressiveness, bullying or being physically abusive and stubbornness in following rules and instructions, are examples of unwanted behavioral characteristics. Ideal team sports include:
Solo Sports for ADHD Children
Sports with a more individualistic and independent gameplay can also help with ADHD kids. A solitary sport allows the child to express or channels oneself through the sport in a more focused and concentrated manner. Rather than depending on others’ performance, the child realizes that his focus, his energy and indeed his performance on the field are the sole factors towards victory or defeat.
His role is bigger and more developed. Such sports can teach the child how to believe in oneself. Inner confidence and a positive attitude is established. Once again, raw energy and drive is utilized, so the child can calm down and not feel so restless. Also, solo sports involve more of a one-on-one experience between coach and student, so the child gets the correct amount of attention and support. Below are some solo sports:
Self control, inner discipline, learning how to control your temper and channel it when needed.. all are some emotional manners expressed in a physical form with the sport of martial arts. Karate or Tae Kwon Do or Judo, whatever the form, martial arts capture the attention of an ADHD child and channel his/her concentration to learn.
The Great Outdoors
Educational, an ever-changing, engaging environment and a chance to socialize with one’s peers but learn on your own, these features make an outdoor activity performed on a regular basis such as a class or group, an engaging sport for ADHD kids. Outdoor sports include: Trekking/hiking, biking and scouting.
One of the world’s greatest swimming champions with 16 Olympic medals was diagnosed with ADHD as a kid. He was advised to take up swimming as a way to channel his energy. This kid is none other than Michael Phelps. Water sports require physical strength, drive and the will to win and push through, all ideal characteristics to challenge the ADHD in a child.
Sports on the whole, are a very healthy way of expressing one’s individuality and getting physically fit. Remember to keep the child’s choice and preference as the ultimate factor in choosing the sport. Interest and passion in a particular sport should always be encouraged, never discouraged, so remember this point with regard to choosing a sport for ADHD inflicted youngsters.