Saturday, March 17, 2012

A few tricks to keep your ADHD kid on track

Who has not seen a child fumbling around trying to find where they left that toy, or their backpack, or their left shoe? Add to that the emotions that come with it, and you have a child angry, crying, or yelling about the misplaced item. The added frustration with an ADHD child is that this episode repeats 20 times a day, sometimes 20 times an evening, and an ADHD child is quicker to let out all those emotions. As the parent/caregiver you also feel frustrated by the frequency and the outbursts.

Most kids need consistency and routine. A kid with ADHD needs it even more. Establishing a pattern of activities, and giving your child as many tools to help them accomplish them all, can lead to a less chaotic home. Yes, I said less, because in an ADHD world, chaos comes with the territory.

  • Tasks lists are your friends- 
    • I have a list in big poster sized paper in almost every room my kid has chores or activities. It has gone a long way for her to have these reminders all over the place.

  • 1. In her bedroom listing step by step what to do when she gets up in the morning, and step by step what to do when it’s time to go to bed. 
    2. Another list by the front door listing out what she needs to do make sure she has with her before she leaves for school, and what to do the moment she walks back in after school. 
    3. Another list by the dinning room table listing how to set the table, and what to do when it is time to clean up after each meal. 
    4. I also have a list in the bathroom sink listing out what to do before her shower, and what to do right after she steps out. 
    5. I even have a waterproof board inside the shower listing out what to wash first.

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    • She is now doing more things out of the house, so we have made her lists mobile by adding them to her iTouch calendar and having them alert her when certain chores or activities should be done, like homework time.

  • Timing is everything, so time everything you can-
    • As I mentioned, my daughter has a calendar on her iTouch that alerts her when something needs to be done, and that is a start. To continue on with that she needs a timer to show her how much time she has to complete a tasks to keep her on track. 
1. She has a timer her teacher sets up for her at school when completing activities. 
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    2. She has another one on her iTouch that we use when she is doing homework or reading, or completing a particular chore. 
    3. She even has a timer in the shower, so she knows she can’t play around too much.

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  • Reward good behavior – 
    • It is a major accomplishment for an ADHD child to stay focused and complete a task. It takes a lot of effort, and with a young child, it takes even more. When they do cross that finish line, praise them, give them a treat, or allow a special reward. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, as long as it is meaningful to them.

  • Patience and understanding – 
    • It will take a lot of reminders from you to have them look back at that list or see how much time is left on that clock. It will also mean sometimes the time runs out and they haven’t finished, or that they skipped a task on the list without noticing. This happens more often than anyone could care to count. When this happens, don’t be to hard on them or on yourself.

Helping your child learn these tools will help them cope better as they grow into their teens and into adulthood.

What strategies do you use to keep your kids on top of chores and homework?

Rossana G-A

FTC Disclaimer: I am not compensated to write this post.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your system of coping with ADHD. Your post is a real help and comfort.