For students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), simple tasks such as getting ready for school and finishing a homework assignment can be a stressful battle. Eileen Huntington of Huntington Learning Center reminds parents of children with ADHD that approaching these issues with patience and consistency can make a tremendous difference. “Your primary goal is to help your child be successful in spite of some of the challenges he or she faces with time management and attention,” says Huntington. She offers a few strategies for parents to keep ADHD students focused and on task:
Focus on the positive. Negative attention and threats can exacerbate a problematic situation with an ADHD child. Instead, point out the things that your child is doing right and reward effort and positive behavior rather than solely focus on your child’s failures.
Use checklists for daily tasks and routines. Relying on checklists for multistep tasks can make a big difference for ADHD children, who tend to lose focus even during simple daily routines. For example, an after school checklist might include steps like empty backpack folders, hand Mom and Dad important papers, bring homework folder and pencils to desk and grab snack. Put tasks in order or even assign lengths of time. Use checklists for other routines as well, such as homework sessions and chores.
Use timers. It’s common for ADHD children to lose track of time or take a long time to complete uncomplicated tasks. Give your child a timer to use along with his or her daily checklist. Break down big tasks into smaller ones and assign time limits for each. For example, if your child can comfortably complete homework in 45 minutes, break down each subject even further: 15 minutes for math, 10 minutes for writing and 20 minutes for reading.
Use focus-enhancing tools. Some settings and tools can promote concentration and keep children relaxed and focused. Does your child need a little background noise or music to concentrate? Does he or she prefer sitting on an exercise ball instead of a desk chair? Some ADHD students think best when fidgeting or playing with silly putty or another fidget/sensory toy or tool. Others are most successful when their workspace is clear and uncluttered. Pay attention to how your child works and talk about what could help.
Boost your child’s confidence. Children who struggle to get things done and stay focused often struggle with diminished confidence. Help your child recognize that which makes him or her special and always compliment his or her efforts and progress, no matter how small.
Students with an ADHD diagnosis have to work hard to stay on task and focused. If you need help supporting your child’s needs, call Huntington. Our ADHD instructional strategies and customized programs can help your child boost his or her skills and do better in school.
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