Why Home Quarantine Isn’t Ideal For ADHD

My 7-year-old son Eli has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) a couple of years ago. He is a bright boy who loves to play with his friends at school or a nearby park. Every day I walk him to his class, and then we go for a bike ride when he comes home to deplete his energy further. This way, it will be easier for Eli to fall asleep at night.

That has been our routine since Eli moved up to first grade until the coronavirus pandemic has rocked the world. Unfortunately, things have gotten a little wacky from the time the news has broken out about COVID-19 cases in China. Tens of thousands of people in various European countries also tested positive. Though I knew that it was only a matter of time before the outbreak reached the US, I still hoped that it wouldn’t happen. It’s not only because the virus is challenging to beat but also because people cannot leave their homes for a while. But then, the inevitable occurred.

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Don’t get me wrong; being isolated with my family is probably the best thing that has happened to us. However, it is the worst-case scenario for my son with ADHD. Here’s why.

No One Can Go Outside
A lot of ADHD kids love going out because the house is typically not massive enough to do various activities. At a park, for instance, they can play tag with others, use the swings and slides repeatedly, and communicate with their peers. Boredom becomes the least of their worries.

Due to quarantine, though, the children need to stay holed up in the house until the government declares that it is already safe to do so. That is an absolute bummer, especially for kids who have ADHD and are living in a small apartment.

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Playing With Toys At Home Can Get Old Quickly
At the beginning of home quarantine, Eli seemed excited about the thought of not going back to school for some time. He played with LEGO blocks and remote-controlled cars; my husband even bought new games for his Nintendo Switch. Eli loved them all, but his interest in those toys only lasted for a week. After that, he kept on asking if he could see his friends in the neighborhood.

I could not blame my son for losing interest in his current toys quickly. Having a short attention span is one of the symptoms of ADHD. I find it lucky that Eli has managed to stay focused on the same objects that long. Still, it does not change the reality that he cannot go out yet.

ADHD Kids Thrive In A Social Setting
Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are amicable individuals. More than playing, they love talking. When a teacher called me one time because Eli was chatting nonstop with his seatmates, I asked him about it. His reply was, “Sorry, Mom, I can’t stop talking with my friends when I think of something.”

I believe that being surrounded by peers is something that my son misses the most. He is never alone at home; my husband and I try to engage with him 24/7. But I guess things are more enjoyable for Eli when he is around other children.

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How Can Parents Help ADHD Kids During Home Quarantine?
The best thing that you can do for your hyperactive child is to think of new games for them every day. It must have been an issue in the past because of your busy schedule, but now you have plenty of free time. You can role-play, start a dance contest, or play video games with your kid. If there’s enough space at home, you may even build a mini jungle gym or anything that will allow the child to expend their pent-up energy. That’s the only way for them to stop wanting to go out for a while.

Stay safe, and good luck!