Children diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) struggle with concentrating, hyperactivity and impulsivity. These symptoms make it difficult for a child to be successful in school and have healthy relationships with peers. Two popular treatments for ADHD include medication and therapy; however, there are many techniques that children and their parents can implement to reduce the symptoms of ADHD, including the inability to focus.
Parents of children with ADHD can make things more engaging for their children by setting up a reward system. The child will be able to focus on an end result, which will help him concentrate on the task at hand. When rewarding a child with ADHD, it’s important to remember that they need immediate gratification for it to be successful. A long-term reward, such as a trip to Disneyland, won't help a child concentrate on today’s homework. Instead, institute small rewards for completing homework assignments, such staying up 10 minutes later, having a small dessert after dinner or playing video games for 20 minutes.
This technique can also be used by teachers to help children with ADHD focus. Teachers could reward the child at the end of each day with a smiley face sticker if she did well. During the day, if the child has a hard time concentrating, the teacher could simply remind the child about her sticker and let her know that she has to earn it.
Small, Specific Goals
Children who struggle with ADHD can’t sit down to do an entire book report without becoming overwhelmed and having trouble focusing. To make it easier for the child, large projects and assignments should be broken down into smaller, manageable tasks. For instance, a child with a book report could work with his parents to make a schedule for daily tasks to meet the goal. He might read one chapter each night, and once the book it complete, write one paragraph each night until the project is complete. It’s important for parents to help their children break down the large tasks they face.
Children with ADHD become extremely frustrated when they struggle with their work, and sometimes this leads to them giving up. It’s critical for children with this disorder to learn relaxation techniques they can implement at school and at home when they are having difficulty focusing or completing an assignment. One simple technique is teaching a child deep breathing, in through her nose and out through her mouth, to calm down. If she’s feeling overwhelmed, she should stop what she’s doing and take 10 deep breaths. When she returns to her work, she’ll have an easier time focusing.