As a parent to a child with ADHD, you know that you must adapt your parenting technique to that of your child. The way you navigate even the simplest of situations will be different from that of a parent to a child without ADHD. According to Healthline, “Fostering the development of a child with ADHD means that you will have to modify your behavior and learn to manage the behavior of your child.” While medication is a good building block, there are other activities that can be used as a behavioral tool; music is one of them.
What is Music Therapy?
Music has far more uses than our own personal enjoyment, and when paired with a professional, it can have therapeutic effects. As defined by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), music therapy is defined as “the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional.” As it applies to children with ADHD, it can help increase communication, improve focus, reduce restlessness, enhance memory/recollection, and help with the expression of feelings. The best part is that music therapy can take on a variety of forms whether it is listening to music, composing, or playing an instrument. There is no right or wrong way to engage with music, which gives both you and your child plenty of options to explore.
How Does It Help?
You might be wondering how something as commonplace as music could possibly make a difference. For starters, the rhythmic structure that music provides has a calming effect on the brain of a child with ADHD who just can’t seem to settle down. Put simply, a good rhythm gives the brain something to focus on. Speaking of the brain, music increases the level of dopamine in the brain, which is the chemical responsible for attention and memory. Not only that, but music creates connections with the left and right brain, improving brain function as a whole.
How To Start
While a quick online search can reveal music therapists in your area, as a parent you can make a conscious effort to incorporate music into your child’s life by taking matters into your own hands. Start by conducting a little hands-on experiment as to what music your child responds best to. The general consensus is that the best type of music is something upbeat and without lyrics that your child genuinely enjoys. Experiment with different genres and observe your child. You might find that classical music facilitates focus and learning, or perhaps pop creates a better learning environment. As a parent, it is your job to learn what works and run with it.
Embrace Music in All Its Forms
Listening to music is great, but perhaps you think your child might benefit from playing a musical instrument. If the last time you picked up an instrument was high school marching band, you might be a little unsure how to get your child started. Your child might prefer to sing a song rather than play or listen. You might even find that specialized playlists can help with various activities throughout the day such as getting up in the morning, doing homework, or getting ready for bed.
When paired with your child’s already established ADHD management plan, music can be an additional tool in your toolbox. Music can help your child overcome the obstacles they face as a result of their ADHD. Plus, it is a great way for the two of you to bond over a shared experience of learning and growing.
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