pic by the Richmond Art Center
We know that living with a student who has ADD or ADHD can be frustrating at times, but learning coping mechanism and ways in which to channel all that energy into something positive will mean that you have a happier home and a student who stays ahead of the game academically. Here are some techniques you can use to help your student to excel.
Understanding your role
Students with ADD or ADHD have trouble with executive functioning. They are every bit as capable and intelligent as other students, but they have trouble planning ahead, seeing consequences, organizing, controlling impulses and completing the task at hand. This means you have to work with your in-home tutor and your teacher to provide guidance and take over these executive functions until your student learns the skills to be independent.
While they want to sit quietly in class, follow instructions and complete tasks, they need to acquire the tools to do so. They are rarely purposefully disruptive, but it’s important to recognize that they can be and manage the impact they have on parents, siblings and class members.
Stay positive and supportive
Remember that not being able to follow instructions or complete tasks can be just as frustrating for your student as it is for you. When you stay positive and calm, you will help them to build confidence and won’t make them think that they are always doing something wrong. Always remember that they are not being purposefully difficult and try to be supportive and encouraging.
Focus on the positive
Believe in your student and believe that they are capable of learning the skills they need to succeed. This will mean that you focus on the positive and don’t sweat the small stuff. When your student does three out of five of their chores, focus on the ones they did and praise them for those while gently reminding them of the ones they left out.
Routines and structure will help your students to establish the tasks they need to do and the time they have to complete them. Establish a schedule for getting ready in the morning, doing homework and evening routines. Use clocks or timers to remind students of the time limits and to refocus them when their attention is diverted elsewhere. Keep routines as simple as possible.
Not every minute of every day should be structured. Allow your student some free time and their own space.
Physical activity helps students with ADHD and ADD to find a positive outlet for all their energy. Sports are a great way to get your students active and to allow them to rid themselves of all that energy.
Avoiding refined sugars and other processed foods will help your student to focus and to sleep better. Without the rush of too much sugar and with a good night’s sleep, they will be able to cope better.
Encourage your students to make friends with their peers. Healthy social lives will help them to feel a sense of belonging and friends can provide support and encouragement.
Every single student will thrive when their parents are involved in their lives and supportive of their academic and sporting endeavors. Keep in touch with your teachers and tutors to ensure that your student is progressing well and take an interest in them. Spend time with them and really listen to them.
Take care of yourself
Ensure that you have your own support network of friends and family members. You can also contact other parents who have students with ADD or ADHD and form a support group. Take time out and make sure that you get to focus on yourself from time to time. Happy parents make for far happier children.