Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition that can make it hard for a person to sit still, control behavior and pay attention. A child with ADHD often possesses a lot of positive characteristics. The list below highlights some of these positive characteristics:
Sensitive to others
Able to find solutions
Full of ideas
Can think on feet
Good in a crisis
Below are some tips if you are working with a child with ADHD:
1. Give the child immediate feedback - Praise, praise, praise! Boost your child’s self esteem and provide frequent feedback. Catch your child being good and tell them about it. Compliment simple things.
2. Act, don’t yak - Lecturing is generally ignored by a child and ineffective. Stay calm to stay in control of the situation. Give the child choices that work best. Talk to the child about the positive behavior you want to see, not the behavior you want to stop. Reinforce the positive behavior frequently.
3. Clarify expectations - Make expectations clear and reasonable. Be very specific about the desired behavior. Know that children with ADHD may have difficulty understanding body language, gestures and personal space. Stick to a decision once you have made it, don’t be wishy washy with an ADHD child.
4. Time out works - Generally calculate one minute of time per the age of the child. Caregivers need time out too. Time outs remove the caregiver from the situation and allow for time to cool off.
5. Pick your battles - Make a list of all the rules and rank them in order of least to most important. The top 3 become the non-negotiable rules. Post these 3 rules and what will occur if violated (loss of privilege). Be consistent and don’t get pulled into a debate.
6. Establish routines - Help the child organize themselves. Behavior plans and charts can be effective.
7. Plan ahead for problem situations especially out of the home - Review rules, rewards and punishments prior to going on outings and stick to them.
8. Prepare for transitions - ADHD children do not shift well from one activity to another. Try to give time warnings when an activity or event is going to be taking place.
9. Practice forgiveness each day - Forgive the child with ADHD for transgressions. Forgive others for misunderstanding the child. Forgive yourself when you make mistakes. Maintain a sense of humor.
**Focus on the positives and help the child with ADHD excel in all of life’s challenges.**