Getting Your ADD/ADHD Child to Behave

Children with ADD and ADHD face a number of challenges when it comes to controlling their behavior. While this may be frustrating for parents, the reality is that parents can work with their children to help them learn appropriate behaviors and ways of expressing themselves. Here are four great ways to work with your child on learning healthy methods of communication and self-expression:

Communicate signals

Sometimes children with ADHD have a hard time noticing when they are acting out. Sit down with your child and agree on a private method of communication to convey a single message; for instance, giving direct eye contact and making the American Sign Language motion for “calm”. Let your child choose a signal, too, to communicate anxiousness, losing focus, or a need to expel a sudden onset of energy.

Engage your child’s free time

If your child typically spends a lot of their free time alone or idle, switch things up a bit and schedule a fun one-on-one activity. Your local museums and theaters often have matinee and off-day specials that provide an educational and entertaining experience on a budget. Or you could start a puzzle, play a board game, or embark on a new art project.

Schedule quiet time

Keep a specific part of the house free of clutter and distractions for designated daily “quiet time”. Encourage your child to read a chapter of a book, draw, do crosswords, or simply listen to some quiet music for a set amount of time each day to help them decompress.

Keep a “Boredom Box”

For those fidgety times that come as a result of boredom, keep a box full of things to engage your child: dress-up clothes, legos, art supplies – whatever engages your child’s attention and interests. If your child is too old for activities like dress-up, draft a list with him or her of activity suggestions – sledding, cooking a meal together, going hiking – that they can pull at random from the box for an immediate activity.

Clear communication, scheduling activities, and parental guidance during difficult times are crucial to building a supportive relationship with your child – one that will provide a foundation for continued growth and development into adulthood.

Dr. Michael Clatch, Psy. D
Posted in: ADD/ADHD, Therapy
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