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Succeeding with ADHD: 5 Strategies for Supporting your Child at Home

POSTED: Monday, February 8, 2016

5 strategies San Diego families are doing right now to help their children at home, and 1 BIG way Club Xcite is helping them. PLUS: $100 Off Coupon Code for your first Tutoring Package at the end of this article.

Lucas - Author

 

People with ADHD can become highly creative, capable, and successful. Coping skills known as executive functioning, which including planning, attention, discipline, flexibility, memory, and self-monitoring skills can make a huge impact! (What is Executive Functioning?) Until your child masters coping skills on their own, supporting your child with ADHD means being extra organized and prepared so your child can learn the important coping skills they need for success. This can be a challenge among parents to whom organization comes naturally, and feel virtually impossible to a parent struggling with managing his or her own busy schedule. In addition to the frustration that ADHD can cause among students, teachers, and parents, it can harm your child’s self-image, provoke your child to compensate with negative attention-seeking behaviors, and become an obstacle to social success with peers. ADHD’s tendency to snowball into a host of other problems is why it is SO important to take action early.

It’s time to make a plan. Consistency is critical to helping positive coping skills to become habits. Teaming with your child’s doctor and teachers improves results, and the one-on-one attention of a specialized tutor or Executive Functioning Coach who understands the challenges of your child’s condition can have a dramatic impact on your child’s success. Not only will a strong support team increase your child’s confidence and success at school, parents may be surprised to notice less tension or conflict at home.

The following strategies are the foundation for a comprehensive plan for your child. Work with your child’s support team to identify what works best for your family.

1. MENTAL PREPARATION CAN PREVENT STRESS

Mornings can be stressful if you feel you have little control over how the school day will go. Laying the groundwork for success can go a long way. Framing conversations about school in a positive light encourages your child to not to become discouraged.

  • Since a child with ADHD experiences extra challenges at school, they may have mixed feelings about going. This is where a parent has an opportunity to set the tone. In a supportive and encouraging way, discuss how important school is. Instead of focusing on achievement, focus on effort when giving praise so your child comes to value giving their personal best, rather than living up to expectations of success (i.e. “you worked really hard on that” instead of “look how smart you are”).
  • Be sure to notice your child’s strengths, and encourage him or her to explore them. Set attainable goals that can be measured objectively to track progress, such as starting homework without prompts.
  • Explain to your child that hard work now enables them to reap rewards later in life.

2. START BY GETTING ORGANIZED 

OrganizatiProcrastinationon is a particular challenge for children with ADHD. Planning in advance is very important to establishing a functional routine. Procrastination can lead to feeling overwhelmed and frustrated at the last minute, so planning in advance and establishing a routine are keys to success.

  • Each night after homework is done, ask your child to review his or her assignment book to make sure all books and projects are packed and prepared for school. If an assignment book isn’t provided by the school, consider helping your child create one. You might include a checklist of supplies in the assignment book.
  • Have your child pack his or her bag and place it by the door every night. This routine could also include packing a lunch or laying out their clothes, all of which create opportunities for your child to see how planning ahead helps them feel prepared.

3. DEVELOP GOOD HOMEWORK HABITS

It is common for children with ADHD to struggle with homework. They may forget to do it or forget to complete it due to difficulty with attending to details. They may be challenged by following through on tasks, maintaining focus during sustained mental effort, or simply be forgetful.

  • Prepare your child with a checklist to review before leaving school each day to make sure all assignments and materials that are needed for homework are brought home.
  • Encourage your child to confirm homework assignments with a friend
  • Label everything. Color code supplies by subject. Write your child’s name on everything.
  • Check with your child’s school to see if they can provide an extra set of textbooks to keep at home

Children with ADHD may avoid sustained mental effort, so establishing a routine is important. Choose a regular time and place for homework. Don’t forget to factor in your child’s other responsibilities, such as chores, and consider whether there are times of the day when he or she is more able to focus than others.

  • Allow 20 minutes of recreational time after school before beginning his or homework to allow a “brain break”
  • Have your child complete homework before fun activities to create an incentive to get it done.
  • If needed, build in breaks for dinner, snack, or physical activities

Distraction is hard to avoid for a child with ADHD. Limit distractions to make is easier.

  • Find a quiet workspace and limit TV, video games, and computer time so your child can learn to regulate the amount of stimulation they need.
  • Soft music or white noise can help your child ignore noise distractions.
  • Providing visual reminders to stay on task, such as sticky notes, can help them retain focus

Difficulty initiating or following through on tasks is common. Providing a step by step example of what you want them to do by walking through it yourself can be helpful. When initiating an activity, consider working through the first few steps together, or provide feedback until your child can get started.

  • Clear and simple expectations are best.
    • Write down oral directions
    • List step by step directions. Include pictures for visual prompts.
    • Work with your child to highlight key words, symbols in math problems, or words that need defining before getting started so they don’t derail the concentration train
  • Prompt your child to repeat directions aloud before getting started.
  • Break up large assignments into smaller tasks
    • Complete 1 portion of homework at a time
    • Cover part of a page so only one section is visible at a time
    • Do the hardest parts first
    • Resist the temptation to help with every step, but have your child complete tasks on their own

Working on projects can be a challenge due to a lack of organization and follow through. Create a list of steps that need to be completed or use a Project Planner.

  • Plan a project out from the date it is due, scheduling time for each step to meet the deadline
  • If possible, allow additional time to accommodate unplanned delays
  • Don’t assume your child is making progress during allotted time during school hours, review progress periodically.

4. REWARD GOOD BEHAVIOR

All children respond positively when good behavior is reinforced consistently. Overtime, this can carryover from home to school and social situations.

One of the best and most immediate forms of reinforcement is specific praise when a child does something well.

Consider promoting self-praise, such as prompting your child to say something like “I followed directions carefully. It paid off.”

Consider promoting self-praise, such as prompting your child to say something like “I followed directions carefully. It paid off.”

“You remembered to bring home your assignments and books from school today.”

“You followed the directions carefully.”

“You worked very hard on your project today.”

You can also try a thumbs up, “V” for “victory” sign, or writing short notes of praise.

Remember that praise must be sincere. Consider promoting self-praise, such as prompting your child to say something like “I followed directions carefully. It paid off.”

5. TEAM UP

Consistency is the key to making all of the above strategies work. If your expectations change with the day or with your mood, your child will only learn that they don’t ever know what to expect. Like playing a game where the rules are always changing, this can quickly lead to frustration. That’s why it can be helpful to get the other adults in your child’s life on the same page. Build an after school support structure around your child who can help implement these and other strategies. While you can’t control their actions, sharing your child’s success strategies with the adults in his or her life increases the chances of maintaining success. This includes parents, step-parents, teacher, or anyone else responsible for caring for your child such as a babysitter, tutor, or grandparent.

  • Write down your child’s schedule
  • Write down important rules
  • If you are going to be away, talk to your child about the expectations while you are gone
  • Share important routines and strategies to minimize disruption to your child’s routine

Your child will benefit from additional support and keeping their regular routine.

You wouldn’t expect your child to be perfect – that’s too much pressure on anyone! Being a perfect parent doesn’t mean you have to it all yourself either. It’s ok to ask for help.

Having professional support can help shake up bad habits and provide your child with an additional source of guidance and encouragement, with the added benefit of expertise in both teaching and implementing coping strategies for your child. Often, parents can get into the routine of providing so much support that students are not learning to get organized on their own, or may not learn to self-advocate so they can get assistance or accommodations that match their abilities. A good ADHD coach will be able to suggest strategies specific to your child and family, implement those strategies, and engage your child in developing strong coping skills.

Final Tip

Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t work right away. Creating new habits takes time, and during an especially challenging day even strong habits can be forgotten. By using these strategies you and your child should see significant improvement over time.

For more information or to learn more about Club Xcite’s services, call or text (858)779-9674.

Mention this blog for $100 off your first tutoring package.

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