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Wednesday, January 12, 2022

New to the ADD/ADHD parenting community? Looking for some basics to help get you through? Rachel Camper, mom and freelance writer, knows all too well the struggle with trying to find the perfect book, video, or “secret code” to parenting a child diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. She shared that it wasn’t until she took a helpful course at Cincinnati Children’s called Understanding and Managing ADHD in Preschoolers that it clicked for her. Her five key takeaways were really insightful and worth summarizing and sharing with our families!

1. Speak directly to your child and give effective commands.

As we know, children with ADHD often have racing thoughts. It’s important to make sure when communicating with them that they actually know you are talking to them. Using their name, looking them in the eye, and making sure you have their attention will go a long way in making sure your commands are effective. It’s also important to keep your requests simple! When you are first starting out, one task at time. Rattling off a list of steps for your child to take will most likely end with steps being skipped or forgotten. One thing at a time works best!

2. Give LOTS of praise and make it specific.

Children with ADD/ADHD often receive a lot of feedback and corrections throughout their day. It's important that you not only praise your child for their positive behaviors, but also for things they might not even realize they are doing. It might feel weird, unnatural, or unnecessary at first but stick with it. You’ll notice that when you positively reinforce expected behaviors your child will start to thrive. Examples included things like

  • "Great job picking up your toys"
  • "Thank you for using your inside voice"

3. Spend quality one-on-one time together.

It’s important that you take the time to get to know your child, as every mind is unique. You’d be surprised what you learn about them when you carve out a little bit of your day to spend one-on-one. The Cincinnati course recommends about 10 minutes of quality time, just doing something for fun, maybe of the child’s choosing and without any correcting. The goal of that time is for the parent to listen and for everyone to have fun. This helps build a stronger connection and relationship with your child.

4. Set up a reward system.

Setting up a reward system allows you to work with your child to get them to do something rather than working against them. Rewards can be earned by doing tasks that the child usually struggles with but should be generic, allowing them to be applied to many scenarios. For example: following directions with only one reminder. Some families use tokens, starts, points, etc. As long as it is easy for the child to follow, that's all that matters. When your child has earned enough points they can be cashed in for rewards like a prize, toy, screentime, game, time outside, or something else that is of value to the child.

5. Get rid of the distractions.

As most parents of children with ADD/ADHD learn, distractions are the hardest thing to manage. We’ve learned that distractions or outbursts tend to happen after longer periods of time. If you are working at home with your child, we would recommend breaking their day into small chunks and allowing them to take mini-breaks in between work. You can incentivize the completion of their work with an activity of their choice.

We absolutely recommend finding what works best for you, your child, and your family dynamics. You can check out Rachel’s full blog here.

open-quote My kids love everything about JB and look forward to going to school every day and seeing their friends and teachers. JB is truly a one of a kind school enriching young lives everyday. close-quote

JB Parent

open-quote Julie Billiart Schools gave us hope after our daughter was diagnosed with a learning disability. At JB, she thrived in the small classes, received necessary therapies, and developed the self-confidence to ask for help when she needed it. close-quote

JB Parent

open-quote I don’t think I will ever be able to put into words how grateful I am that you saw my daughter for all that she is today and all that she is yet to become. close-quote

Tammie Sommer

open-quote Julie Billiart Schools has helped my child become a better version of himself. The teachers and therapists at JB really know and understand how to reach children who learn differently. close-quote

JB Parent

open-quote They have all the resources necessary, specialized to the individual learning of each child, and the heart that goes with it. I don't think we would have stayed in Ohio if it wasn't for JB! close-quote

JB Parent

open-quote All of the teachers and staff at JB are patient and willing to take the extra time to make sure we, as parents, understand and are comfortable. close-quote

JB Parent

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