Kids with ADHD often have difficulties understanding and following too many instructions given at once. They may get easily distracted with the first couple of instructions and not follow them through. It is important to understand that these distractions are not on purpose.
It can be quite frustrating for parents when children don’t seem to understand or do as they say. Long, drawn-out directions can cause an information overload in ADHD children and makes it difficult for them to process the same. It can be equally exasperating for the child as well as for the parents.
Here are some effective tips to give instructions that ADHD kids can follow:
- Stand close to your child while giving instructions or direction. Ensure you get the child’s attention by touching his shoulder or arm and saying his name.
- It is important to make eye contact with your child while giving the directions.
- Keep the instructions simple and actionable. For example, say “Put your homework folder in your book bag”, rather than “Get ready for school.”
- Speak in a clear, firm voice.
- If there is any explanation needed, say it before giving the directions. Explaining things after giving direction may cause your child to forget the original command. For example, “We have to go out to meet friends over dinner today. So if you want to take some toys along to play, pick them out and give them to me now.”
- Stay around for a few seconds after giving instructions to ensure that your child maintains his attention on the task. If he complies and follows through with the directions, make sure to praise him for the good job done. If you’re not sure whether the child understood them, ask him to repeat the instructions in his own words.
- Maintain a consistent and calm approach while giving instructions. Connect with other adults in your child’s life, such as teachers and therapists, to be sure that everyone is giving out messages in the same way.
In general, kids with ADHD respond best to directions that are direct, simple and clear. This helps to ensure success in following instructions and many more positive outcomes in their lives. It can also help them grow in confidence and boost their self-esteem.