Teaching children with ADHD to become organized and focused

Children with ADHD need to be disciplined like other children. They need set rules where they are made aware of the appropriate and inappropriate behaviour. It is just like raising a normal child, but with a little more effort. It is not difficult once you know what has to be done.

Parenting is never easy; parents have to work towards the holistic development of their children. Parents with children with ADHD can feel fraught from the demands their child's condition places on them. When a child is diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, the job of the parents becomes quite difficult. They find themselves in charge of a highly energetic child whose energies can be quite difficult to manage. There is a need to constantly monitor and aid the child and parents can face difficulties in striking a balance. There is always a lot of constructive changes that parents can make in the routine of the child as explained in these tips for parents with an ADHD child. There are a lot of informative details about time management and establishing routines etcetera mentioned in the article, but there is a lot else that you can do.

Keep your child with ADHD occupied

Children with ADHD need to be kept busy. Being idle can exacerbate your child symptoms and can lead to pandemonium and chaos. Therapists recommend that children with the disorder are given activities that keep them busy, but they suggest that the child should enjoy these activities and not get overwhelmed by them. Being active helps expend energy, so get your child involved in things that interest him - anything, from a sport to music and dance or an art class.

Involve your child at home as well, in simple, age-appropriate activities. The idea is to keep the child engaged. This doesn't mean that the child can spend hours glued to the television set or be on the computer playing games. Video games, in particular, are not recommended for children with ADHD as they can contain content that can aggravate the child's symptoms. Think of other, constructive activities for your child to participate. They can be involved in cooking or gardening. You could also engage them in board games – games that require the use of the brain or skill are a better choice over ones where the game continues with the roll of a dice.

Establish order

Your child with ADHD will be easily distracted, so establish an order that he can familiarise himself with. Avoid haphazard ways of functioning around your child – set a routine and follow it with precision, so your child comprehends and lives s up to your expectations.

You need to train the child's mind, with simple rituals, that become predictable after a while. For instance, washing hands before and after meals or getting the school uniform ready the night before and packing the school bag according to the timetable, before going to bed.

A child old enough to read time can be taught to finish a task, within a stipulated time. Don't expect exceptional results immediately, but with persistence, your child will improve. While you are learning what to do right, don't lose focus on what you should not do. Lead by example, you set the pace of things around the house. The more organised you are the more the trait will rub off on your child.

Don't constantly 'hound' your child, with the do's and don'ts. Instead let him have some 'me time', alone. Just ensure that he is out of harm's way.

Rules and expectations are crucial

I think every child needs rules, rules are mandatory, a crucial part of growing up. A child with ADHD also needs rules. While setting rules remember to maintain consistency in their implementation. No breaking of rules, if you want to see progress in your child. Set a pattern that easily turns into a habit.

Establish a system where you reward when rules are followed and there are consequences when rules are not adhered to. Nothing stringent, you know the drill, no cartoons until the work is done or a picnic over the weekend if the week goes smoothly. Finally, do not waver, be firm with what you say and follow through every time, be it with an incentive or a consequence.

Remember to applaud and provide positive reinforcement

As you create stable structures, bear in mind that kids with the disorder are often at the receiving end of criticism. Keep an eye out for good conduct and performance and applaud the efforts. Remember, a child with ADHD requires praise more than anyone else. They rarely get appreciated – instead, they are always being corrected and admonished for their behaviour. Positive reinforcement lifts their spirits and they begin to yearn for more and in the bargain make an effort to change their behaviour.

Psychologists say all it takes is a smile, a pat on the back, some positive feedback or some other reward to get children with ADHD to improve their concentration, attention and impulse control. Make a conscious effort to provide positive praise when your child completes a task or behaves well. Limit negative criticism to a minimum and reward the child when they accomplish even the most mundane things. For you, it might be something normal, but for a child with ADHD, it is always a Herculean task.

Rewards – how to go about it

While you may be concerned that you will overdo the praise and the rewards bit, please know that your child will only benefit from appropriately time compliments and rewards. This is what you must do -

  • The rewards must not be toys or foods, instead, provide praise and allow special privileges to the child or let them do their favourite activity
  • Be creative and provide variety in the reward system. Do not give the same rewards every time. Create a system which is also a visual reminder that your child has been good. Award stars or smiley faces and place them on a wall in your kid's room or on the fridge
  • Reward immediately, so the child connects the good work they've done with the positive feedback from you

Consequences – what you need to know

Rewards alone will not work; knowing that there are consequences for bad behaviour and for tasks not completed can actually motivate the child. The rules are simple –

  • The child must be made aware that there will be consequences for their misbehaviour. Rub this in by disciplining the child instantly. The child should be told immediately that they will be denied certain privilege each time they falter and follow it up by going through with it. Do not make empty threats – they don't work
  • As the one in command you must learn to act. Disassociate your child from surroundings and conditions that might prompt inappropriate behaviour
  • When a child behaves badly sit them down and ask them what they should have done. Was a tantrum necessary? Did they have to do what they did? Let them tell you what the appropriate behaviour should have been. This reinforces good behaviour in the child

You'll be surprised at how effective positive reinforcement can be. Be patient and give your child to adjust. For best results, you will need to work together with your child.

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

Follow Juana or read 547 articles authored by Juana

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