Transcript: How to Deal With a Child With ADHD the Holistic Way

During my many years working as a childcare educator I’ve come across kids with ADHD on many occasions and I’ve often found it tough knowing how best to support them.

Mother of twins Ashleigh Tolliver knows all about ADHD, since both her twins have it. I was thrilled to speak with her this week and she shared some innovative ways that parents can use to improve their interactions with kids with ADHD and achieve a win-win! Through Parenting That Kid, Ashleigh helps parents find new ways to manage meltdowns, anxiety, stress, and brain differences. Also check out the episode show notes to access three free activities from Ashleigh’s Active Child Resource ebook. I’ll provide the link at the end of the episode. 

Helen Thompson: Hi Ashley welcome to first time moms chat. I’ve been really excited about talking with you today because I’ve worked a lot with ADHD myself and childcare, and talking to a mom who has actually gone through it, it’s very exciting. So can I just start by asking you to tell me a little bit about you and what inspired you to start your business.

Ashleigh Lang-Tolliver: Yeah, thank you so much for having me. I’m very excited to be here and to share my story in hopes that some other mothers feel a little bit more boost and confidence in themselves and they can find answers. So I am a mama to, they just turned, eight year old boy, girl twins. Yeah, that in itself is always a lot of fun. And when they were three and a half, maybe almost four, I just knew something was off. I just knew something wasn’t right. I’d been a nanny for many, many years and so I’ve been around children and I just felt something was different. And my son, really, his differences were showing in big ways. So big emotions, big reactions, big responses, everything was intense. Nothing was just this gentle way of going, whereas my daughter, she was gentle, but nothing seemed to be going in. She was just very flighty.

And I know at that age that’s normal, but I thought this is extra flighty. And so I just knew that there was something I had to do. I had to figure out answers and I’m a nurse by trade and so I love to research and dive deep into things and what’s behind something, not just upfront, but what’s going on in the background, deeper in the soul and the person in the body, the holistic view of a human.

And, and so that’s what I did. I remember distinctly, staying up till two or three o’clock in the morning Googling things, cause I knew I had to find an answer. I was unhappy, my children were unhappy, my husband. Something was not right. And so, so I just put out a cry for help on a moms group and said, by the way, I’m going to go learn a whole bunch of things, I’m going to interview professionals and I’m going to put that information out there and I had a whole bunch of moms say, how do I learn what you’re trying to discover? And I said, well, I don’t know. Maybe I’ll just start a blog. Maybe I’ll just start a podcast. And so it was very much that was all on the whim and it snowballed from there. So I created my business and hope that parents can take little nuggets of what I’m learning myself and implement it into their lives. I don’t think everything I share is for everybody, because nothing is for everybody you find what works for your family, for your child, for you as an individual, and then you use it or you alter it a little bit, or you find certain things that might work and other things that you’re going to put aside for awhile. And so when I put out an SOS and I thought, well, I don’t want to hold this information to myself. I said, okay, great, I’ll start a blog and a podcast and four years later, and I’ve learned so much and I’ve created more onto that.

I have an ebook of activities for kids like this. I have a mentoring program for parents because I remember feeling so lonely and helpless when they were that little. And so I, and I don’t want anybody to feel that way, so I’ve created a mentoring program to help you through those first discovery years.

And it’s just been beautiful. It’s challenging, it’s hard, it’s fun, it’s beautiful, it’s glorious, everything.

Helen Thompson: Yeah, it must be very, very hard to discover that as a mom, knowing there was something wrong with your kid, but not knowing what it was and not knowing what to do. So I think it’s a great thing what you’re doing.

And having twins, I think it was an anxiety and must have been very, very hard for you at times. So, were there any tips that you would like to share that might be helpful to calm the chaos in family life that has that.

Ashleigh Lang-Tolliver: Yeah, well, so many, but I always love to start with, you need to be okay with who you are as a parent and have some self care and some grace for yourself, because I think you go at first, when you find out or you feel like something is off, you feel like it’s you as the parents, right?

You work so hard to be this perfect parent and we need to alter what that means. There’s no such thing as a perfect parent, there is a perfect parent to your child. But I think within the way the world is, we feel like we have to be perfect. So you have to have some grace for yourself during this period. You also have to know that you have to take care of yourself.

You are not good for your children, if you cannot take care of yourself and we easily lose ourselves on becoming a parent. We just get so wrapped up in our children that we forget, I am only so good to them if I’m only so good to myself. And so I always say that’s the first place to start, because when you’re refreshed, when you’re healthy, mentally, physically, spiritually, you’re going to be so much better for your child.

And when you are sick and trying to learn, you forget about yourself, you just, what do I need to do for my kids? So I say, start there. The next thing I love to share with my clients is that you need to look at your day in your life. I say, put out a whole week and see where things are rocky and where things are smooth.

There’s usually a pattern or a rhythm within that. And you just are so exhausted or so overwhelmed, you see right past that. And so I work with parents on finding that rhythm, finding that power on the outside view looking in. I have a little book that they work through, that they write down things and then I look at it and go, here’s your pattern, here’s your rhythm, here is how we make this smooth. And so I say that’s really important, especially with children, with ADHD, they need consistency, they need rhythm, they need to know what’s coming next because then they can start preparing themselves. If you just throw things on them, they’re all out of whack.

I think that’s when we all get this, I don’t want to say bad perception, but a kind of distaste in our mouth for children like this, because we see those as an outsider, like way the child responds. But what we might not realize is this kid is taken out of their comfort zone out of their centering and all we’re seeing is the after effect. When, as a parent, as an educator, as a grandparent, whoever spends the majority of the time with the child, if you’re working through with those rhythms, you can not stop at all. You can’t, but you can help prevent or slow things down or make it not as extreme. And I think we need to see that as the person that spends most of the time with the child.

But again, when you’re in the middle of it and so thick, it’s hard to see that. So I’m those outside eyes.

Helen Thompson: I think a lot of people see kids like that, that they’ve got a behavior problem and they’re misbehaving. When, in fact from what I understand of ADHD, they’re not misbehaving, they just, don’t understand how to process stuff. They don’t see the big picture. I’ve experienced it cause I’ve worked with a kid that had ADHD and I didn’t know that they had it, but he kept jumping all the time.

He was a lovely kid, but he kept jumping on a trampoline all the time and when I told him to turn off the TV, he got wretched with me and it wasn’t until I worked with this kid for about six weeks that the mother actually said, did you know, he has ADHD and I go, no and I was actually quite surprised and then it clicked.

That’s why he’s doing this stuff and he couldn’t communicate very well with the siblings. He always used to want to be in charge of the situation. We were playing a game. He wanted to be in the situation. I just let him go with it because I didn’t know how to handle it.

I didn’t want to rock the boat. I just sort of thought, no, I want to have a nice calm babysit, so I didn’t have to cope with it. So, as a parent with kids like that, how would you sort of support that kid to know that that’s what his problem is.

Ashleigh Lang-Tolliver: Yeah. I think you’re, you’re spot on everything you’re saying is so true. There’s a couple of things. One, they don’t have the ability to process it. They just don’t. And they’re, I look at with my children and other children that they’re this holistic view to care for them. And it’s not just like a, we need to medicate them and pass them on.

I look at what’s going in our gut and what’s going in our, I mean, we’ve done all these very detailed tests to find out and there’s something called GABA (a neurotransmitter found in the gut), and I’m not going to go into any of that side of health and wellness for this. But ADHD, children tend to lack certain things within their body.

And there’s a way that we can support that, but if you do not have certain things in your body, natural chemicals within your body, then you can’t process things. Your brain doesn’t work. So the neuro-transmitters that are sending all the signals to the brain, if they’re not getting the correct information, the brain, of course can’t work the normal quote unquote normal way.

And that is many times what ADHD, children experience. They do not make the correct neuro-transmitters to send the correct messages to the brain, to act this way, to interpret information this way or whatever’s coming and it can appear like you were just saying, this kid was bouncing all around. They tend to appear to have sensory struggles.

So sensory beings touch, taste, feel, sound, smell. They tend to have a lot more of those. And there can be two, one where they over everything, everything is heightened, right. And that light bouncing. And I have that with both of my children really, but it’s a constant need for more and more and more.

And then there’s the other words hyper where they hyper focus on something because they found something that they’re so into, they can’t even interpret the other stuff around them. So these kids will, you know, it’s kind of like, they’re, they break tunnel vision. They find something that they like, and they’re gonna stick with it.

However, at school that can appear off because maybe you’re supposed to be working on math, but the kid is loving spelling and then the teacher is very frustrated trying to pull them in. And so that’s where you get this. ADHD actually can focus when they want to, when they’re getting that hyper-focused the other is they just physically need to constantly move, move, move, move, move.

And so I, at a very early age, learned from my children, learned about regulating their sensory input. We have done occupational therapy with both of my children and learn that they need consistent sensory input and they need to know that they’re needing it in that moment. So I’m very open in saying you need to regulate your body or you need to regulate your emotion.

And then we talk about how do we do that? So it’s go outside and climb a tree or hop like a frog. Taking deep breaths and feeling that’s run through your body because that’ll bring your everything down and calm you in. So I’m very vocal with my children about this you’re heightening, everything is getting bigger in your life right now. And we need to bring that come back down and we’re going to regulate ourselves. Instead of just saying, go outside and play. I know they need to do that. I have to tell them you need to go regulate yourself. This empowers them so that when they’re older and they’re experiencing these things, then they can say, oh, I need to go regulate and my children will say that. I’m just trying to regulate my body. And some people look at them like, okay, but it works. They were learning tools and techniques on how to do that. And that’s what my ebook has in it, a lot of regulation, games and techniques that children wouldn’t know, that’s what they’re doing, unless you verbalize it. They just think they’re having fun. One of the big ones is to really support heavy lifting. So moving furniture, I’ll just tell my son to move something, even though it doesn’t need to be moved. Because that releases those happy hormones or transmitters in his body sends good signals to the brain and he’s regulated his brain to be able to handle what I really want from him. Maybe it’s setting the table or something that he might not be so interested in. Another great one. It’s probably like a school is starting back up and children are starting to go back into class. We have like a elastic band, it almost looks like a rubber band exercise and we have it wrapped around the bottom of our chairs so that their feet sit on top of this and they can just bounce their feet while they’re sitting. Oh, it’s so amazing. Every single one of my chairs has them in our house. And bounce. Yeah.

And now their body’s getting the signal it needs from this and they’re able to focus their brain because this is what they needed. They needed that movement to help their body regulate and now they are. And so they have, we call those busy bands and there’s other ways to play with those that we do and they’re just those simple exercise bands. But so I really think parents need to tell educators right off the bat, my child has ADHD because those children are not bad. They’re not doing defiant things, in fact, they’re, they’re not even doing what they’re doing intentionally. They don’t purposely go out to do it.

So as parents, it’s our responsibility to advocate for our children and whoever’s going to spend time with our children needs to know so that they can understand and then you need to share the tools. If you hand your child over to a nanny or the teacher also hand over the tools, don’t just say, bye because then now you’re leaving everybody in a really yuck situation.

Helen Thompson: Yeah. This reminds me of something I studied a while ago, and I think I mentioned this to you when we first chatted. It reminds me a lot of brain gym and educational kinesiology and I still use it to this day. If I, for instance, before a podcast or before I’m doing a Facebook live and I’m feeling hyper and stressed, I use brain gym to calm myself down. I do what I call pace, which is one of the things, I drink water and I rub my brain buttons which is just between your ribs like that. And then I do some hookups, which I just cross my whole body and just really relax.

And I find that really helpful because as you’re mentioning, it’s moving. You’re moving your body and you’re stimulating all those things to get going.

Ashleigh Lang-Tolliver: You know, I think teachers because they are with our children so many hours of the day, need to hear and learn more about this. There’s actually something called sensory breaks. So you stop focusing. They call it a sensory diet and you take sensory breaks. So you stop focusing on just the board in front and you get up and you give all these other senses, their chance to do their thing, whatever that might be.

And then you can focus and come back in to whatever you’re supposed to be staring at that you might not be interested in. And I think we as the world has shifted, I feel like we’ve kind of lost that idea of letting children just go have sensory breaks and then come back to the calmer activities. And it’s not to say this works for every child, but I feel like from what I’ve seen with those that I’ve worked with in my own children, when we schedule in sensory breaks, we have a better day.

We have a better emotional response to the world. We just do. And I always say to everybody, get your child outside. They need it more than we, as parents even realize and ADHD children need more outdoor time than the average child. Although every child should be outside, but they need it more because their brains are trying to connect all these all these messages way harder than anybody else.

And when you come outside and become one of the world again, you’re able to connect that. When you put a screen in front of them or when you hook them up to something, it’s only working on one part of the brain and ADHD children, their brain is just all over the place. So you need to support that all over the place and not just close it off to that one side.

Helen Thompson: I understand exactly where you’re coming from and I also know that overstimulation is another thing. I understand that if you overstimulate, you also get that effect. So you’ve got to get the balance.

Ashleigh Lang-Tolliver: Absolutely. So I always like to say that my children come home from, from school overstimulated because they’ve had so much asked of them all day, their brains are in constant, go, go, go and then they have their friends chartering here and then they see something over there and it’s just so much, and they’ve worked so hard and then they come to me and they come home and they just collapse and it is so overwhelming for their bodies and their brains. And so I look at activities that I know will help regulate them back down.

To come back into their body, because they aren’t at that point and nothing I say will change this and it just makes everybody frustrated. So absolutely I think people don’t realize that when I said sensory a while back in our conversation here, it’s so many things coming at you that ADHD children are already trying so hard to focus on this one thing right here, whatever it might be.

And then you’ve got the sounds and the smell and the texture is still just hitting them all day. It’s easy to be overly stimulated when you have this. And so making time for moments of pausing and coming back into yourself and so for us, we send our children into their own rooms separated.

Nobody’s talking, you just do you now, you just be you. And they self-regulate because my son will want to play, he’s really into magic right now. And so he’ll want to try to be a magician and so he’s playing with his cards or my daughter pulls out her horses, but it’s time for them to just come back into who they are and we don’t turn on music. I try not to have like the vacuum going at that time or cleaning or we don’t get the dog all rowdy, it’s just calm time. And then they come out and now, now we come to do whatever we need to do.

Helen Thompson: I think that’s the same with every child, not just ADHD, I mean I know we’re talking about ADHD , but I think a lot of kids these days, there’s so much overstimulating.

You’ve got the TV, you’ve got mobile phones, you’ve got vacuums. They don’t have enough time to what I call, diffuse. You know, diffuse the situation and I see that all the time with older kids. They’re not necessarily ADHD kids.

Ashleigh Lang-Tolliver: And I think it’s a beautiful thing to start talking to parents so that when your child is young to talk about regulating and, and absorbing the information that comes in and then knowing when it’s enough and how to process that on your own. So, yes, the world is just hyper-stimulated and it’s so much it’s always being asked and some people can handle that ask really well and others just can’t.

And so I think, I think it’s learning what you need to do for your body. To be able to shut things off and care for your own self. And that just circles back to that self-care. I tell my children that regulating yourself is self-care. You need to take care of yourself. I’m taking care of myself. I’m a better mom when I do. You need to take care of yourself, you’re better you to me, to you, to your sister and buddy.

Helen Thompson: And I think it’s good to encourage children to do that because they’re not encouraged to do that. It’s always either schoolwork or even when they’re, when they’re young kids it’s television. I don’t like overstimulation on TV. I’d much rather sit down with the child and play with them and communicate with them and find something that they like, rather than plonking them down in front of the TV, because you don’t need that visual contact all the time.

Ashleigh Lang-Tolliver: Yeah, absolutely and you make a good point about seeing eye connecting to them. I talked about the rhythm. I think that’s so important and I work with my clients on that and then the last thing I really work with my clients is finding out where your child is having fun in the world, because there is so much in between that it’s not fun for them. It is so hard to stay in the boundaries that society has put on them or requested of them. And so you need to find when they’re having fun and you need to highlight that you need to support that and you need to empower them with that. So for example, for my son, it’s soccer. He is very good at it and he thrives and he gets so much from that. And he also regulates which we’re always like, oh yeah, it’s soccer season starting because it helps them regulate. And then we just know that, so we are, we’re all tired, cause it’s all the time. It feels like, but it’s so much what he needs. And then the other is we sit down with him or lay with him at night and spend 10 minutes just talking about the good, not about, oh, soccer was great, but you didn’t do dot, dot, dot. We only talk about the good, because they’ve spent all day trying to do the good or be in this box that we’ve put them in that you need to find those 10 minutes, 10, 15 minutes to just be there with your child.

And it could be that they’re reading a book that you don’t have any interest in, but you could sit there and ask questions and not put down any other part of the book. Don’t say, oh, I wouldn’t read it, but tell me anyway. You know, just ask. They will thrive hearing that you are supporting them and what they are loving.

And they’re going to just they’ll feel better about themselves and those harder moments, they have enough harder moments. We don’t need to add those moments to their lives.

Helen Thompson: And that happens with every child. I don’t like labeling kids and I think a lot of people, unfortunately, do label kids.

Yeah. And we’re all like that. We’re all over here, simulated. And as you say, some kids don’t know how to handle it and some kids do, and it’s how you have a parent or a childcare worker or an educator or whatever, teaches children how to what you call regulate, to balance themselves and get to know their bodies because a lot of them don’t.

Ashleigh Lang-Tolliver: And then it’s afterwards letting them know you did a great job , walking through the process. So they need to hear what they did really worked. And I know this for my daughter because she has, she has your classic signs of ADHD. If you were to look at it, check, check, check, check. So she really doesn’t hear and this is how we actually started getting her tested for ADHD. We had focused on my son for years. We ended up focusing on my daughter just within the last two years, because she said, well, mom, I know you’re talking to me, but I don’t actually hear what you’re saying. And that just struck me, what do you mean I’m right here talking and, and it’s so true.

I can say five or six times, do this, do this, do this, or help me with this and it’s just not going in. So when it happens, when she does respond or when she adjusts to things, I really work hard at saying, look, it worked, you did it, look at the outcome. And she actually has done a really good job at figuring this out too.

We set a timer for her. This is a great little tip for parents at home, especially as you’re trying to get out the door, get moving. We have a timer. She’s very visual oriented. If I say this to this, or we’re going to do this, then this, so what I do is set a timer that counts down backwards. And then I say, you’ve got five minutes to do one task.

And then I tell her and I make eye contact with her. Here’s the one task. And she does, if I say one task and this time she can go do it. I do not say, do this, then this, then this, then this. Yeah, that’s it. I might as well just go do it myself or just forget it. It’s never going to get done, but if I say one thing and go do it and come back, she’s usually done before the five minutes.

So this is how we get out of the house in the morning for school. And we’re not having meltdowns and tantrums because everything has a time she’s usually done way before then. And then I’d say, guess what? Look how much time you have left now that it’s time to play. Which is wonderful for her because she empowered herself to play.

She got there on her own, by getting everything done in the morning by a simple clock. And so I think letting them know what they did works and isn’t that amazing? Doesn’t that feel good? You did it. I didn’t brush your teeth for you. You brushed your teeth.

Helen Thompson: You talk about being outside of the box. I’ve just done a podcast with somebody else. It was all about thinking outside the box. By using art because the particular person was very good at art. She was very good at drawing and it’s just saying to them, I know you’re angry, I know you’re upset. Can you tell me? Here’s a piece of paper, here’s a pen. That’s just one example. It might be kind of take me outside or demonstrate it to me or show me how you’re feeling. And I think giving them the space to do that, it’s very empowering.

Ashleigh Lang-Tolliver: Very empowering. And so one thing that I’ve noticed with my son for his ADHD is he has high expectations for himself. In fact, most children with ADHD do, and then when they don’t meet it, that’s when disaster kind of starts to build up.

Because they worked so hard at trying to meet all these standards or all these rules or whatever it might be. And but because of that, he’s got really bad anxiety. And so along with ADHD and the sensory struggles that come with that, and then he’s got anxiety on that. And with similar to what you said, we worked through those hot moments by saying.

Like let me think if we he’s got a blue blanket and I say, okay, Tommy, what that blue blanket would smell like, and I don’t have him smell it. Then he thinks about that and I get creative, whether he goes like a blueberry. Okay. And then we’ll look at a ceiling and I’ll say, what do you think the ceiling tastes like?

And then he says, whatever comes to his head, but it is a way to get him to process things. And through that, I usually get a conversation of I’m feeling really sad or I’m feeling like mad or this didn’t go well, because you’ll start saying things that are, there’s a pattern to it. So it’ll be, it tastes like dirt, you know?

Oh, dirt doesn’t sound very good as well. Yeah, because I’m then like, oh, okay. So then we can get through that. But it’s a great way to bring his anxiety down because first off it takes his mind off of whatever he’s anxious about. Now he has to focus on what I’m asking and I can pull it out of him, what he’s anxious about, and then we talk and process that and work through that and need to prepare him for what he’s anxious about or talk about if something had happened working through that process.

Helen Thompson: Yes. I was thinking that if you you’ve got twins, so both of your kids have that issue. If you had one child who say had ADHD and one child that didn’t, I would have thought as a mom or as a parent, that would be quite hard because you’ve got to help that child bring themselves down, as we’ve talked about but the other child in inverted commas is normal, right. What kind of balance would you have?

Ashleigh Lang-Tolliver: Because my daughter is your typical signs of ADHD where my son is not your typical until you really did some deep research and there’s actually three types of ADHD. I’m not going to go into those cause they are very detailed. And there’s a classic which my daughter is the poster of that. She is all of those things where he isn’t your typical. So I do have to work with them on different levels and I will say, as a parent that’s probably the most stressful thing about being a parent of maybe it’s because they’re twins or it’s just because they are both very different levels on this.

In the heightened moment, it’s very hard. I find that I have to go take some self care. I have to go in and take a hot bath or I love to run. So I tell him, I’ve got to go run for 30 minutes or whatever it might be. Go drink some water and you can go walk down and see our chickens.

Right. Just getting me outside because I know the situation will still be there when I get back inside. It’s not going to change or maybe it will and I got lucky, but at least I’m ready to come back in and that is so hard as a parent in general, and it’s hard as a parent with this.

And so, and I don’t fault anybody who loses their cool because you are not perfect and you, you will. And you, you take that moment as a learning opportunity for your children and talk about it and apologize for your actions or whatever, and, you know, work in that as a family. And then I, we usually tell each child that we need to be with that one kid. So the other one has to go into their room or go outside with the dog or something. But I have to focus on this one kid right now. And then usually at dinner, we have pretty good conversations at dinner. We come back together and talk as a family and say, how did this work or what happened there?

Or my son will say, well, she loves this. And then she’ll say the same thing back. And then we kind of just talk through it as a family and say this moment right now, she needs us to all do this. We’re in this moment right now, he needs us to all do this. And so, and we do, we have to learn to help each member of our family in that moment.

And I’d say this, when my kids are sick when one isn’t sick, but the other is, you have to take care of the one who’s sick and you put more energy into that child because they just need you. And I always tell the other one, it’s not that I don’t love you right now. I, of course will always love you, but right now my energy has to be with this one.

And someday my energy will have to just be with you. It’s just this balancing act, whether you have twins or any multiple children, however, a closer far part, they are, you know, you just kind of give and take in your family and you have to let them know that in those moments because it’s part of being the family.

And we say a lot in our house, like, well, this is what our family is doing. This is how our family does it because every family is different. And you know, I hope that they take it out of our house and say to their friends, all right, now I need to focus on you or, you know, I always hope that they’re giving that back to their friends too and not just holding it in our four walls.

Helen Thompson: No, I think it’s good that as you say, every family is different, but it’s giving a mom or parents, who have got that problem, the initial tips of how to handle it and then they can work it out for themselves of what they need to do like you’ve done.

Ashleigh Lang-Tolliver: And it’s a process. I have to say, every parent, give yourself grace. It’s okay to mess up because you are going to, but you’re not going to ruin your child messing up. If anything, you’re teaching them how to grow and you’re growing too. You’re learning too, right?

I knew ADHD was around and I’m pretty sure I could go back and look at some of my childhood friends going, oh yeah, well, they probably were, but it was never in the forefront of my brain until my children. So it’s okay to not know it all. But I am also a big advocate on educate yourself, empower yourself, find support, find resources, find people to help you through it. Do not be alone on this path. If anything, do not be alone, because the hole gets so deep if you’re alone and you will feel when you start comparing yourself and it’s natural to do that at first, you’ll start comparing yourself to your friends or your children’s friends and go, gosh, that’s not just us. What’s wrong with our family? Don’t go there, don’t be that person there, find support in that.

Helen Thompson: We mentioned at the beginning that you had a business that you run and the support. If somebody inspired by what you have to say, how can they contact you Ashleigh.

Ashleigh Lang-Tolliver: Yeah, thank you. So I encourage anybody to just reach out because if anything, I can guide you somewhere that might be specific for your child. So I don’t want anybody to go, oh, I don’t know if she has all my answers. I just encourage you to reach out. Like I just said, don’t go down that hole by yourself.

So you can find me at my website, which is Or you can find me on social media, which is really easy. My name is Ashleigh Tolliver and it’s spelled kind of funny. It’s Ashleigh, I don’t know if that’s funny for you guys, but it is in America. You don’t see a lot of that spelling.

So I’m on Facebook and Instagram with Adam Ashley Tolliver. And if you go onto my website, there’s a contact me form. I have, my mentoring has its own site, or there’s also the contact needs to, you can just go there. My email is ashleigh@parentingthatkid.Com. So I’m right there and I encourage people to reach out and we can chat.

And we talk about my mentoring program, or maybe it’s just, hey, I’ve got this great blog that I wrote. I think what you’re asking me, the answers might be in here, let me shoot you the link, so that you’ve got that. But just don’t go down the road alone. It can get so lonely and I don’t want any mom to feel like that.

Helen Thompson: I always ask this at the end of every podcast, is there any magical tip that you would give to a mom who is struggling with a kid with ADHD?

Ashleigh Lang-Tolliver: I absolutely love that.

I do the same thing I say. Okay, give me three tips right now, before the mom even reaches out to you, what three tips would you give? Again, my first one would be take care of yourself, find moments of self care, and I would also encourage you to find moments of self care in the moment. It’s not just planning a tonight, I’m going to take a bubble bath, which I think is great.

You should do that. I do that. I’ll be honest. I take a bath every night and it’s just cause that’s how I soothe myself, but it’s in the moment. So when my kids are in their heightened state, it might mean closing the door in my room and just a couple of deep breaths. So in the moment self-care is so valuable.

So that’s my first tip. My second tip is to try to find patterns or rhythms within your child and your life because there’s probably more there than you know, and that’s again, where I come in, in the mentoring, because I look at it and more than just your daily schedule pattern rhythms, but there’s so much. There’s environment, there’s overstimulation, there’s textures and foods, maybe the quality or the quantity, the what you’re eating all these different things. So just see if you see patterns and rhythms, because you’ll learn a lot just by observing. And then the third one is try to work with your children to empower themselves too. Let them know this moment is hard. Ooh, that’s really big. Or, oh yeah you talked a lot today, how are we going to work through that? And then work through it with them? And like I say, my kids will go, I need to self-regulate and go off or something. My son sometimes says, I’m going to, I’m going to go meditate and I’ll open the door and he’s doing yoga or it’s a little meditation on his floor in his bedroom because he knows he needs it.

And so verbalize your children. They can do that, teach them how to do that and that it’s okay to do that. Have them watch you do that kind of thing. Cause they need you to empower themselves too, they’re only with you for so many years. You want to give them the tools that they can use when they’re out of the house too.

Helen Thompson: Oh, thank you, those are amazing tips. Thank you for that. Yeah. Before we go, is there any final thing that you’d like to say that we haven’t covered.

Ashleigh Lang-Tolliver: No, I don’t think there’s anything extra that I’d like to add. I think I encourage parents to start advocating for your child at a young age. I don’t know how much we spoke about that, but if you can, it’ll just make everything much easier. It’s so much easier to start when they’re little versus 15 and you’re going, oh, what happened, where are we? So you are your child’s strongest advocate and you know, your child better than anybody does. So if you are not happy with an answer or with the policies or the way that things are happening in your child’s life, you are their advocate and they need you to be. Not every child does, but I think just academic wise, these children need you to be their advocate because they’re amazing. I can list so many famous people that have ADHD. They are amazing. Their brains are just brilliant and you have that child and be their advocate at a young age, and they’re going to just do fabulous.

Helen Thompson: Well, thank you so much Ashleigh. I’ve actually learned so much more from speaking with you. You’ve actually inspired me to go and find out more to sort of help more parents to that. So thank

Ashleigh Lang-Tolliver: Absolutely. Thank you for having me. Oh, you’re wonderful.

Helen Thompson: It’s a great pleasure, I’ve enjoyed talking to you.

I really enjoyed talking with Ashleigh and I found her very positive and highly inspiring. It’s great to hear so many excellent tips from the mother of not one, but two children who have ADHD, wow! I highly recommend checking out Ashleigh’s website as well as her podcast and also check out the free activities from her Active Child Resource ebook.

I’ve included links to all of these in the show notes as well as Ashleigh’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

These can be accessed at