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COVID-19 is taking a profound toll on people, especially after months of isolation from family, friends, colleagues, and social activities. In addition, the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 is causing people to live in constant fear of stress and anxiety.

A survey by The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) indicated more than half of the respondents cited anxiety as a major challenge experienced during lockdown (1).

Children, mental health and ADHD

Children have been especially affected by the lockdown, as their daily routines are disrupted. Everything they’re familiar with changes in an instant, and they’ve had to adopt new measures to continue learning and staying connected with loved ones. This new way of life added to their anxiety levels, making things more difficult. 

One in 20 South African children is living with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a chronic mental health condition. This condition is characterised by difficulty paying attention, impulsive behavior, and hyperactivity. These characteristics can impact a child’s academic performance and relationships with other children (2). 

 ADHD is a misunderstood condition. If not treated, symptoms can worsen, making it difficult for them to stay focused. ADHD symptoms can also make children more

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  • Disorganized,
  • Forgetful,
  • Easily distracted, and
  • Impatient.

Although there is no cure for ADHD, treatment is available. Parents and guardians of children living with ADHD can also use techniques to help manage the symptoms and help children succeed despite their diagnosis.

Tips for parents and guardians of children with ADHD

Routine is crucial

Set up a timetable for chores, homework, meal times, TV, playtime, and bedtime. Make sure you and your child follow through on the schedule.

 Identify household chores

Giving children household chores will provide them with a sense of responsibility and boost their self-esteem.

 Reduce screen time

Schedule online time and time to play video games, and don’t deviate from the plan. It’s easy to get distracted and lose track of time. This can lead to a dependency on their devices and negatively impact their sleep routine.

Get active

Encourage your child to spend time outside and do light exercise. Fresh air and being active can burn off excess energy and increase their concentration.

Small, achievable tasks

children | Longevity LIVEChildren can feel overwhelmed when faced with complex tasks. Break difficult tasks into smaller achievable goals, and encourage them to meet the smaller goals. Praise them at each milestone.

Explain, don’t command

Always explain why tasks should be done in a certain way. Use positive words when answering questions. Commanding children to do things can add to their anxiety.

Parents and guardians should continue monitoring children’s behavior to make sure they’re doing well, and taking their medication as prescribed. Relapsing from ADHD medication can result in

  • Symptoms reappearing or worsening
  • Medication taking longer to work when resumed.
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Guest Writer

This post has been curated by a Longevity Live editor for the website.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.