Originally Answered: 5yo with ADHD?
I have 2 sons (6 & 7) with ADHD, and they are both exceptionally bright as well. My 7-year old is more like an ADD (so was my husband). My 6-year is like a text book case for all the symptoms He's all over the place, attention span two seconds long, implusive, totally unaware of things going on around him and SO easily distracted it's not funny. We had him on some medications, but we weren't happy with them so we're not medicating him anymore. It can be done. It's really hard some times, but it can be done.
Don't listen to people who say ADHD does not exist. While, yes, it has been grossly over-diagnoised, it most certainly does exist. They obviously have never dealt with it and are in no position to judge.
First, remind yourself she's not trying to make you crazy. She doesn't want to be naughty. You ARE a good parent. She IS a good child. Make time to be with alone with her everyday. Even if it's just a story. Touch her often if she likes being touched. Praise her often. You may have to look for things to praise, but if you search, you'll find more things everyday.
Evaluate her diet. Is she eating healthy, well balanced meals? Do you provide limits on sugar, caffeine, white flour and red dye? They can all effect her behavior and are an easy way to help control the crazies. Fish oil capsules and Vitamin B complex are really good supplements.
Next, make a concentrated effort to be calm at all times. Don't give her anger or frustration to feed on. Keep your voice calm and your attitude under control. (easy to say, huh) The goal is to sound like a broken record when you have to repeat yourself. We naturally get more frustrated and our voices get higher and louder. Make your's stay the same. Just like a broken record.
See if you can find a place where she can just be alone for awhile. Sometimes they get so overloaded, they can't function. My son likes to take a bath, so if I see we're heading for the slippery slope, into the bath he goes. If I can't catch it before he blows up and loses control, I have him sit on his bed until he is calm. He has NO electrical devices in there. Just quiet. He takes about half an hour to calm down. Then, he's great.
I would not try traditional time outs. They tend not to be effective on ADHD kids. It just frustrates them and makes it worse. Try finding something he likes a lot and taking it for a whole day.
One thing that's important is to explain to her how you do want her to behave. Wait for a good day and bring up a few key issues. Describe how you want her to behave. Then do a role reversal and show her how she should behave. Then practice a few times. I practice new behaviors before we go some place. Like before we go shopping, I remind them they They have to stay right beside me or we'll leave and sit in the car. Then we practice them saying, "OK, Mom." If they wonder off, we go to the car. My cart is usually there right where I left it when we return.
Routines are really helpful for ADHD kids. You can even go a step further and give her a checklist. This gives him some control of his day and she realizes what needs to get done. Include at least one chore a day. Doing chores helps children to feel they are contributing and important in the family.
Make sure she gets at the very least the minimum amount of exercise required by children this age which is an hour a day.
She'll probably do better with more. Martial arts are really helpful for ADHD kids, but anything where they are moving is great. My goal is to have them so tired they fall asleep as soon as I put them in bed. Also, make sure she gets enough sleep. A five-year old needs between 9-11 hours a day. As they get older, they need less, but most kids do not get enough sleep.
Try to touch her when you talk to her. It will help ensure a connection and she's more likely to hear what you are saying. There is no point giving her directions when she's in another world. Give him only one step to follow at a time. So, instead of saying, "Go brush your teeth, wash your hands and face and put the wash cloth in the hamper." Say, "Go brush your teeth and come back to me." Then, "Wash your hands and face, then come right back." Finally, "Please put the used wash cloth in the hamper." It takes a lot longer, but it all gets done rather than getting lost somewhere on the way.
Same thing with the room. My son would NEVER get it done and more than likely it would be worse than before. It's too overwhelming. So now, I say, "Please pick up all the red clothes on your floor. Put them in the hamper." Then, the blue, yellow, ect., until all the clothes are picked up. Then we start on books. Then toys, first maybe the Rescue Heroes, then Legos, then all the car, then the trains. Finally it's picked up and I let him vacuum as a "treat". Hey, he likes it. Break it up for her, she doesn't have that skill yet. You may have to sit in the room with her to keep her focused.
Severely limit screen time. We allow half an hour computer and 1 video or movie a day. More than that and I pay for it.
Whatever you do, be consistant. Not just for days or weeks or months, but always until the rule changes. They will test you, but if you're consistant, they'll learn to accept the rule. For the most part.
Get away sometimes to refresh yourself. You can't give your best to your kids, if you are not at your best. Connect with your spouse. Early bedtimes help allow that. Be sure to get away together once in a while too.
Love you child. Show her an extra measure of patience and a double portion of grace. Even when you want to ring her neck. Typically, the kids with the hyperactivity outgrow their ADHD, while the ADHD-without hyperactivity-type, tend to be life-long.
Oh, one thing that makes a huge difference is that we homeschool. They don't have to sit for 5-6 hours or more a day. We take breaks when we want, do lessons outside, making relay races out of math facts, etc. If homeschool is not an option for you, consider looking into some charter schools that may have a less militant feel than public schools traditionally have. Otherwise, talk to her teachers and tell them what works for you and ask them to try that approach with her.
Make sure you have fun together. My son is so much fun, people love to be around him because he's his energy is contagious and he's so friendly. Enjoy your daughter.