The classroom presents a host of challenges for a child with ADHD. Sitting still and listening quietly can be difficult, especially in an environment full of distractions ranging from other students to colorful décor to unfamiliar noises. It is important to communicate frankly and frequently with your child’s teacher so you can make a plan that works for everyone involved.
- Children with ADHD need structure. Knowing what to expect each day can help them to curb some of their impulsivity and restlessness. Write down schedules and keep them where your child can reference them frequently and cross off each item as it is accomplished.
- Provide clear expectations and a system for evaluating their performance. Do not overwhelm them with a long list of rules. Choose one or two behaviors to focus on and create specific, measurable goals that can be assessed daily. Offer positive reinforcement in the form of stickers, privileges, small prizes or other rewards when goals are met.
- Break homework and projects into small, manageable chunks. ADHD children can become easily distracted as well as easily discouraged. Help them to maintain their focus and motivation by breaking larger assignments into smaller tasks with frequent breaks. Use breaks to encourage movement, which can help them to expel excess energy and stay focused.
- Write down important information. Use the same notebook or planner for every assignment. Include specific information needed to complete the assignment, when it is due and how it should be turned in. Checklists can remind students of important but often overlooked details such as putting their name on the page and checking their work.
- Stay Organized. Before school starts, buy supplies to organize their homework, their backpack and their work area at home. Help your child to develop their own organizational skills by reviewing their homework journal, sorting through their backpack and tidying their workspace together every single day.