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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (more commonly known as ADHD) is incredibly common in kids. In fact, about 9.4 percent of children get an ADHD diagnosis at one point or another, per a national 2016 survey. That makes ADHD one of the most common disorders of childhood.

Of course, it’s normal for kids to struggle with focus or behavior from time to time. But kids with ADHD might be hyperactive or have a hard time paying attention or controlling their impulses. They could act without thinking or be ‘overactive’. And — if left unaddressed — these unique struggles have the potential to turn into problems at school, at home and with friends. 

Treatment for ADHD is always individualized and depends on the child, but usually, it involves a mix of things: behavior therapy and parental intervention, as well as the use of medications.

Often, parents also turn to specific products (toys, games, tools, and other resources) aimed at infusing calmness into their children’s day, delivering the stimulation they crave, and helping keep kids focused.

These 11 items — from blankets and sensory items to toys (and even video games!) — are trusted by mothers of children with ADHD and experts alike. 

Sensory Seat Cushion

“A sensory seat cushion is an amazing tool to give kids with ADHD the sensory input they crave so they can focus, reduce hyperactivity, and concentrate better. It is a tool that can be used while doing any seat work or even at the dinner table. Using it for about 20 minutes and then taking a break is the best way to optimize focus.” 

— Roseann Capanna-Hodge, an integrative and pediatric mental health expert and mother based in Ridgefield, CT

A Weighted Blanket

“My daughter is a teenager and she loves her weighted blanket. Not only does it help her with sleep but she often uses it to feel regulated and to calm her body.”

— Ellen Stumbo, a 39-year-old mom based in Twin Cities, MN

Highlighter Bookmarks

“Kids with ADHD often know how to read but struggle with staying focused. Using a simple and inexpensive bookmark that has a highlighted window is an easy way to keep kids focused on what they are reading. The highlighting over the words helps to keep the brain’s visual system engaged and alert.”

— Roseann Capanna-Hodge

Not-So-Silly Putty

“While most adults think those fidget items are distractors, for a child with ADHD, a fidget toy can really help them get focused. Sensory putty is an inexpensive and easy sensory toy that gives kids the movement they crave but in a more ‘acceptable’ way that helps them to stay focused to get work done.” 

— Roseann Capanna-Hodge

Intention-Setting Bracelet

“The Wishbeads paper bracelet kit is ideal for kids with ADHD. Parents and kids can write out a bunch of their intentions or goals (for example: ‘listen and learn’) and then create them into a bracelet. It’s a wearable, daily reminder of their goals to best cope with ADHD — and it’s fun and fashionable!”

— Christina Towle, a 40-year-old mom based in New York, NY

Centering Biofeedback

“Biofeedback has been around for decades, but with the increase in emotional and behavioral disorders in children and teens, there has also been an increase in natural ways to support them. Heart rate variability (HRV) Biofeedback helps children who struggle with stress, attention, and impulse control by teaching them to sync their heart rate with their breath.”

— Roseann Capanna-Hodge

On-the-Go Sandbox

“Playing with kinetic sand is a wonderful way to calm the nervous system, mind, and body. Through the soothing play that comes from the soft sensory experience of playing with this sand, kids with ADHD often can regulate and calm.” 

— Roseann Capanna-Hodge

Might-Building Video Games

“We absolutely love Mightier Bioresponsive games! It is an app that combines video games with a heart rate monitor to help kids grapple with emotional control. Our children love the games and have made so much progress with them!”

— Alicia Trautwein, a 33-year-old mother in St. Charles, MO

Mini Trampoline

“One of my all-time favorite types of exercise for kids with ADHD is jumping on a mini-trampoline. Pop on a song and have kids jump when they get home from school. It gets out energy, improves circulation, gets oxygen to the brain, and creates alertness.” 

— Roseann Capanna-Hodge

Doodling and Coloring Books

“Even though teachers used to yell, ‘Don’t doodle!’, now, many realize that doodling can help children be more focused when they expend their energy this way. Researchers believe that doodling allows you to keep your mind engaged so you can focus better.”

— Roseann Capanna-Hodge

Brainwave-Changing Music

“Music with embedded brainwave changing technology is an easy thing for parents to put on when their child is playing or doing homework. Musician Jeffery Thompson has created a series of albums that can support focus, relaxation and sleep.” 

— Roseann Capanna-Hodge

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