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Children with ADHD have difﬁ culties with keeping their attention on the task at hand, not shifting from one thing to another, and thinking through the consequences following an action. These difﬁculties seem to delay the child in managing his or her own behaviour.
How you can help
Parents and carers can help by setting up clear expectations and routines. Children learn skills for selfmanagement when they have a structure to guide their behaviour. Discipline strategies that work with other children also work with children who have ADHD, but they need to be put in place more strictly and over a longer time span until the child’s self-management has developed. If you ﬁnd yourself irritated by your child’s behaviour, try to remember that he or she may be struggling more than other children to learn how to respond as expected.
Set up rules and daily routines to provide a structure for children with ADHD. Be consistent with your expectations. This helps children to remember what is expected of them so that they can learn to regulate their own behaviour.
Give clear instructions
Make instructions brief and to the point. If necessary ask your child to look at you and repeat them back to you to ensure that he or she has ﬁrstly focused and then is ready to hear and understand what you mean.
Give prompt feedback
Feedback and consequences work better when given straight away.
Avoid the negatives
Try to ignore minor misbehaviour. It is best to try to stay out of power struggles with your child. Try to also remain positive and avoid strong criticism.
Incentives before punishment
Use praise and reward to increase motivation and build cooperation. Program yourself to see the achievements rather than the mistakes. Look for reasons why the child has not done as expected and use consequences sparingly.
Less talking, more action
Showing children as well as telling them what is wanted ensures the message is understood. Follow through on what you have asked your child to do and help them to ﬁnish what they have started if required so that they can experience successes.
It can be very helpful for parents and carers to teach problem-solving skills, time management skills, and good work habits. Remember to spell out what is involved in easy steps. Provide lots of support and praise until your child becomes more independent with these skills over time.
Help your child to make plans that organise what he or she has to do. Create lists and display them as reminders for your child.
Be a coach
Encourage rule following, monitor progress and increase motivation.
Look after yourself
Having a child with extra needs can be stressful. Be sure to take care of your own needs too.