ADHD and Daydreaming
Oftentimes, parents catch their ADHD children wandering off into space. One moment, they are energetically running around the house
and then the next, they seem to have drifted off to dreamland. There are kids who get so engrossed and lost in their reveries that you would have to startle them with a loud, startling sound just to bring them back to reality. Some may think that such daydreaming incidents are but simple and normal occurrences that you do not have to worry about. However, when these trancelike episodes happen frequently, it is time to sit up, take notice, and do something about it.
Excessive daydreaming is common in children with ADHD because they tend to be inattentive. Their lack of concentration often leads them to become easily bored and therefore they resort to musing about and contemplating other things that evoke their interests.
Disadvantages of Daydreaming
ADHD daydreaming frequently occurs in school because this is where children are usually asked to engage in tasks that are repetitive and that require a huge amount of focus. Children diagnosed with ADHD have a difficult time maintaining their focus in those situations and then they unintentionally escape into dreams that block reality. As a result, they find themselves getting into trouble and earning poor grades because they cannot complete their school work, listen attentively in class, and participate actively in discussions.
Another disadvantage is that the daydreaming child may become more withdrawn. The more a child is absorbed by a different world separate from reality, the more he or she may succumb to anti-social tendencies. Consequently, this behavior in extreme situations can lead to psychological problems that may adversely affect the individual as they mature. For instance, it may be difficult to maintain a job and work with a team. He or she may never learn to be independent, either.
Problems with learning and socialization are not the only difficulties, though. What can make ADHD daydreaming worse is that it can actually become life-threatening. Just picture a child crossing the street when his or her mind suddenly drifts. Such an incident is probable when ADHD children become more and more used to daydreaming and eventually lose control of when to turn it on or off.
Advantages of Daydreaming
Most of the time, daydreaming for ADHD kids is seen in a negative light. Nevertheless, many do not realize that it also has its advantages. There are experts like cognitive scientist Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman who believe that for some children, the mind is actually whirring with creative ideas and focusing on specific plans and ventures as opposed to lacking focus.
On the surface, they appear to be absent-minded. But inside, their brains are busy. Dr. Kaufman believes that the key to creativity is maintaining one's marvel and enthusiasm for the world, and being in touch with everything the environment has to offer as well as with one's own internal flow of consciousness. That is why daydreaming can also cultivate the imagination because it encourages fresh perspectives and original ideas.
Since daydreaming is a form of escape from the stresses of real life, it also improves mood. It allows the mind to forget about worries and the body to relax. Visions of positive things may help the child feel better.
Going into these deep thoughts also benefits the child's ability to remember. Constant practice exercises the mind to better recall things from the past. In this case, ADHD daydreaming can be beneficial to the learning process because a sharp memory will permit the child to retain lessons better and gain more knowledge.
What To Do When It Happens
If you find your child getting lost in these trancelike bouts more often than normal, you must do something about it. Here are some of the things you can do:
- Make sure to give your child enough rest so that he or she will not feel the need to escape stressful moments
- Initiate conversations with your child to avoid idle time which can lead to daydreaming. At the same time, you also develop a bond that can help him or her be more comfortable in your presence and therefore choose to be in the actual world
- Involve your child in active endeavors such as sports. Activities that require physical effort and that appeal to the interest of the child should be encouraged
- Show genuine interest in your child's life. Feeling loved and connected is vital in order to steer clear of the need to flee or break away.
Author's own experience
"Day Dreaming" from Indian Parenting website.
"The Power of Daydreaming" from Psychology Today website, by Amy Fries.
"Why Daydreamers are More Creative" from Psychology Today website, by Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D.