Before Kindergarten: Behavior Therapy for ADHD

Before medication, try this treatment for ADHD

All kids test their parents, but children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have even more challenging behaviors. The uncontrolled running, touching and yelling outbursts may have parents reaching for a prescription to tone down the behavior. But first, consider behavior therapy, says the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Along with the American Academy of Pediatrics, the CDC is urging healthcare providers to encourage 4 to 5 years old to complete at least eight sessions of behavioral therapy training. “It has been shown to be as effective as medicine, but without the risk of side effects,” says Anne Schuchat, MD, CDC principal deputy director.

Behavior therapy sessions teach parents how to become active listeners, help children describe emotions, reward positive behavior, overlook unwanted behavior and effectively use timeouts. 

Studies have shown that such training helps kids improve their behavior, gain self-control and increase their self-esteem. Further, it helps improve communication between parent and child, and strengthens their bond.

For resources on behavior therapy: