Helping your ADHD child succeed in school is a great way to improve their overall self-esteem… and show them ADHD isn’t a cross to bear but a challenge to conquer. Plus, proper support in your child’s academic realm will foster a good parent-child relationship built through trust and openness. This kind of relationship will benefit your child far outside the reaches of school and will make your job as a parent both easier and more fulfilling.
Here are a few great tips on how to support your ADHD child in their schoolwork.
Make schoolwork seem relevant.
As often as you can, find ways to show your child how their schoolwork relates to their own interests. People are much more likely to become invested in things they care about, and the same is true for ADHD children of all ages. If your child loves computer games, perhaps mention how mathematics is the key to coding their favorite game. If they’re reluctant to study history, try and find a way to present the material as an interesting story! This will help your child become more motivated and determined to complete their schoolwork. Your own creativity is the limit when it comes to this approach, but TED Talks and other online videos are great starting points for parents to show how common, “boring” concepts are actually inspiring, relevant, and “cool.”
Break things into small steps.
It’s easy for ADHD children and adolescents to get “lost” in school. They have trouble starting major projects and assignments, and once they start it’s easy for them to get distracted. The finish line seems like a far-off, unreachable place. Making to-do lists with your child and completing one step at a time will help your child focus on the task at hand instead of being overwhelmed by the big picture. When they complete a step, have them cross it off the list! This will make your child visualize the progress they’re making and feel encouraged to keep going.
Focus on the positives.
As parents become frustrated, it’s easy for them to begin hounding their child on what they need to “do better” at or improve on. Try and avoid this. Phrase criticism in a constructive, positive manner, and focus on what you want your child to do, instead of what not to do. Don’t say, “get off your phone.” Instead, try, “Could you please finish this problem?” Nobody likes being told what to do or being told they’re failing, and that includes adults. And this feeling is compounded in ADHD youth, who already have trouble finding motivation for staying focused. When your child receives a good grade, celebrate! When they do poorly, focus on steps they can take to do better next time, and applaud their efforts. Building this self-esteem is a major help when it comes to supporting ADHD children, and it’s sure to help them in school.