Millions of children in the United States currently have ADHD. Data on ADHD from the CDC found that the estimated number of US children ages 3 to 17 to have been diagnosed with the disorder was six million. Other than the treatment and service that many kids with ADHD receive, routine and structure in their daily lives are crucial for improving their efficiency and daily functioning. Aside from setting the usual dining or study times, integrating a specific reading time into their routine can provide long-term structure while boosting their literacy, especially for children who might struggle with reading. Here’s why routine reading is essential for kids with ADHD:

It helps kids calm down

Children with ADHD often find it hard to calm down due to their hyperactivity, which may be especially pronounced before naps and bedtime when both child and parent need rest. Reading a story before bedtime can allow your child to relax and unwind, making it easier for them to sleep. Sleep Advisor’s insights on reading before bed note that getting immersed in a good book can take a person’s mind off of other activities for a time. This makes it easier to reduce stress or excess energy to help them fall asleep faster.

Try reading with your child first to help them find their footing as they try to focus. They can latch onto your voice as they read along with the words, and you can ask questions to make reading time more engaging. Then you can encourage them to read on their own as reading becomes a regular part of the routine. Make sure to read some more slow-paced and calm — but still interesting — books to help them unwind.

It boosts concentration

Concentration is something a lot of kids with ADHD struggle with, but reading is an excellent way to ease them into developing focus. Maryville University’s write-up on literacy development in children highlights how reading fiction not only enhances emotional intelligence by teaching them how to perceive and understand the feelings of others, it also improves memory and the ability to concentrate.

Storytelling helps children focus and concentrate while developing essential social and communication skills. Moreover, research indicates that 43 million US adults with low literacy skills have impaired cognitive abilities. Introducing books to your kids early can help train their brains and give them a chance to succeed as they grow older.

It improves creativity and competency

Books open up a whole new world for your child, exposing them to new ideas and information for them to think about. As author and gifted education consultant Joanne Foster points out, books feature diverse themes, innovative views, and problem-solving strategies that your child can carry with them to the real world. It can help them employ new ways to confront issues or handle a situation, and creativity can foster resilience, productivity, and enthusiasm as they go about their creative endeavors.

Offer your child a variety of books with all sorts of topics to give them more realms and ideas to explore. Over time, they’ll develop their preferences, which will help you find more books they like and keep them engaged for longer.

As you integrate reading into your child's routine, it's vital to go at a pace that works for everyone involved. It may be difficult for someone with ADHD to get accustomed to something new in an already familiar schedule, but we can help you Upgrade Your Routines so you and your child make the most out of reading time and the rest of the day.

Article written by guest writer Alicia Preston