ADHD doesn’t just affect one aspect of your child’s life. From home to school, your child has challenges to deal with all day long. But that doesn’t mean your child can’t or won’t succeed. If your child has an ADHD diagnosis, take a look at how you can help them to succeed at school — at home.
Help Your Child Feel Like a Decision-Maker
Telling your child to study or do homework may not get the result you’re hoping for. But even though school-related tasks may not feel fun, they’re necessary for academic success. Obviously, your child doesn’t have the choice whether to do homework or not, but you can let them make decisions about how to accomplish their homework.
The ability to make decisions that significantly impact the way they study makes your child feel like they’re in charge of their own education. This, in turn, adds an extra motivational factor that can get them started studying and keep them on track.
To get your child to feel like they’re a decision-maker, provide your child with plenty of choices, allowing them to make decisions during the studying process. This could include letting them choose the order that they study in (such as history first and math second), the length of study times, or the place where they study. Making decisions like these will help your child feel like they have autonomy and may motivate them to get things done.
Learn Through Movement
If sitting still is a struggle for your child, forcing them to sit at a desk and study won’t work. Research into childhood learning shows that ADHD can significantly impact the student’s attention span and working memory (the short-term memory that’s responsible for storing information as your child learns). But this doesn’t mean your child can’t build working memory skills and become an effective learner.
Physical activity may play a role in helping children with ADHD improve both attention and working memory abilities. Provide your child with plenty of breaks to move around, go outside, or get active to help them to focus on their studies and complete at-home school assignments. Likewise, let your child use a standing desk or a yoga ball instead of a chair to see if either positively impact the way they learn.
Get creative and turn learning into a movement game. Let your child take breaks and stand or bounce while studying. Younger children can bend their bodies into letters to spell out words, play hopscotch to count numbers, or try another creative movement activity as part of their study session.
A little praise can go a long way. While it’s tempting to cheerlead excessively, carefully choose how and when you use praise. Instead of praising ability, focus on the work your child is putting in. Avoid blanket statements such as, “You’re so smart,” and offer specific, effort-based praise.
Your child isn’t alone in coping with their ADHD — and neither are you. Your entire family can give and get help handling behaviors and dealing with the powerful emotions that come with this diagnosis. But that isn’t all. Your child (and the rest of your family) can also get help with learning and school-oriented tasks.
Who can help your child and your family? There are several possible candidates. Your child’s teacher is an immediate resource. The educator knows your child, sees them every school day, and understands instructional practices. Work together, collaborating as partners in your child’s education.
The help doesn’t stop with your child’s teacher. A counselor can also help your child to succeed in school. This professional can work with your child, you, and the rest of your family to create effective learning strategies, explore the emotional impact of the educational environment, and set realistic learning goals.
Do you need help helping your child with their ADHD school struggles? Contact The Center for Family Counseling for more information.