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5 Tips for Navigating the Toddler Years as a Mom With ADHD

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I am the mother of a toddler and I have attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Here’s what I’ve learned so far about the toddler years:

1. Don’t neglect your appointments

As you’re shuttling your little one from the pediatrician, to the lab and to the dentist, it’s really tempting to neglect your own health. But keep seeing your designated mental health professionals to ensure you’re on the right treatment path. Here’s an example: I recently made the difficult decision to switch providers for insurance reasons. Because I stayed the course with my treatment and remained vigilant about getting adequate care, I uncovered new insight about my condition that I am currently addressing with new medication.

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Instead of giving up on my ADHD treatment, I now am learning that my anxiety may be linked to the fact that my ADHD medicine wasn’t working like it was supposed to. If I was accomplishing what I needed to, maybe I wouldn’t be so upset at the end of every night. Here I thought it was my generalized anxiety disorder flaring up or parenting woes. I’m sure those both factor in, but now that I’m on better medicine, I already feel more relaxed. I’m also no longer paying out of pocket for a provider who wasn’t really working for me anymore anyway.

2. Fuel early, fuel often

Using a meal delivery service and meal-prepping has been so helpful.  Superfood smoothies are the ultimate weapon against ADHD and, when pre-prepped, you can fuel up throughout the week. No crashing in the middle of the day; you can start your day with a great start.

By the way, this doesn’t just apply to smoothies. Make-ahead oatmeal, breakfast tacos and egg bites are all things you can use to keep your mind and body fueled.

3. On Sundays, we wear aprons

On the weekends, I meal-prep different elements of my toddler’s weekly meals. While making lunch on Saturday, I’ll make up a week’s worth of oatmeal. While I’m making Sunday dinner, maybe I’ll use a chopper to cut up all of her fruits and vegetables for the week. The lunches I pack for her are super simple, and even if your little one does not go to daycare or Grandma’s, I could still see the value in having make-ahead meals.

4. Turn play into exercise

We know that toddlers are an infinite powerhouse of energy! Instead of dreading exercise, start looking for ways you can sneak in your daily steps. Since my daughter loves the outdoors, I can typically put her in a stroller, walk down the street and get in a good amount of steps. Sometimes I just let her wander around the backyard and I sing songs to her while I walk in place. She thinks it’s a stage production just for her!

5. Join an accountability group

Maybe you’re trying to lose weight or maybe you have some career goals in mind. Accountability groups help you reach a common goal with like-minded individuals. The best groups brainstorm steps on a regular basis and check-in with each other periodically. It sounds simple, but it’s surprising how effective this can really be. There’s something about having to check in weekly and seeing others doing it that just is really effective.

What are your favorite toddler parenting hacks?

This story was originally published here.

Unsplash via Wang Xi

Originally published: December 16, 2018
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