How to Help Your Child (With ADHD) Find Success

How to Help Your Child (With ADHD) Find Success

You’ve been to school. You’ve sat in on all the meetings, filled out the doctor surveys, and hoped to see some changes. Perhaps you and your doctor have finally settled on a medicine the seems to “work” with acceptable side effects. {In this article, I will not get into medication concerns- that is strictly a personal and doctor directed decision that is up do each family.} But based on my years of teaching experience, here are some ways you can help your child with ADHD find success. 

Maybe even after all that, your child is still struggling with completing assignments and doing chores at home. You are having daily struggles just to get through a homework. Getting him to clean his room ends up in a knock down drag out of World War III proportions.

I’ve been in the meetings too. I’ve seen the exhaustion etched on your face along with eyes full of concern for your child. Searching for answers, explanations, excuses, even scapegoats. I’ve felt it. Living day to day this way is very stressful and can feel detrimental to the relationship you have spent years growing.

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Photo by Julia M Cameron on

Help your child with ADHD find success

There are things that you, as a parent can do to set your child up to be successful in school and at home. In my 15+ years of experience in education, I have worked with hundreds of families with children who struggle with ADHD.

As a teacher and parent, I know it can be heartbreaking to watch your child struggle with the many obstacles children with ADD face. It can be hard to see them get frustrated and can be equally frustrating as parents trying to manage behaviors at home.  Impulse control, focus, fidgeting, and immaturity are obstacles that children with ADHD face everyday. However, there are things that you can do to make daily struggles less frequent and set your child up to experience success both at home and in school.

These aren’t “magic” answers or “quick fixes.” Much like starting a diet, these behaviors need to be “lifestyle” changes or habits that you and your child can reasonably commit to try. Eventually and ideally, these habits will all work together but if it feels overwhelming at first, try one at a time, gain confidence, and then tackle another.

  • Routine, Routine, and Routine:

    All children, whether ADHD or not will flourish when there is a predictable routine.  This is ESPECIALLY important for children with ADHD. Children who struggle with keeping their things organized will often feel anxiety when they don’t know what to expect or when they feel out of control. Having an established and regimented routine will alleviate unnecessary anxiety and allow your child to prepare for expected behaviors.

  • Having a set time to do each task, from homework to chores to snack will allow your child to focus on the task at hand so there is never a question about what to expect. This can be a bit difficult in situations of shared custody or if your child participates in many extracurricular activities. However, it is in the best interests of your child to do everything in your power to be as consistent in establishing a routine as possible, even if life gets in the way.

  • Calendar/Planner/To Do List:

    Write everything down. Leave nothing to memory. Have your child use their planner and never ever put it away. This is typically provided by the school. If not, get one for your child and reward them when you use it effectively. When at home, create lists (chores or responsibilities) so your child know exactly what the expectation is. They can “earn” rewards for completing what is on the list.

  • A Place for Everything;Everything In It’s Place:

    Give your child a specific place for their important belongings. Command hooks work great for coats- so much more efficient and effective than hangers. They should have a specific place for backpacks and a basket for keys, electronics, and other small things. Even shoes should have a home and there should be no question about where everything belongs. That way, if something goes “missing” you have a limited number of places to check. A few baskets work wonders.

  • Be Careful About What You Put In:

    Drinks and foods high in sugar and carbs can cause peaks and valleys in blood sugars. These highs and lows can lead to a whole host of complications from jittery to lethargy making it difficult to focus and sustain concentration for any extended period of time. There are even quite a few studies that suggest that foods with red dyes can have an impact in children with ADHD as well. I know for some children, the medicines that they take can have an upset stomach as a side effect. This can make eating certain foods difficult. The key is just to make sure to focus on healthy fruits and veggies while limiting soft drinks and junk foods.

  • It’s All About the Follow Thru: This is probably one of the hardest things to do. I’ll go back to my diet analogy, it can be pretty easy to be on a diet for the first few days. Commitment is at its highest. Motivation keeps you focused on the goals. After those initial days, the commitment and motivation can begin to wane. Twinkies call your name and it is all downhill from there. If you fall off the wagon, get right back up and do you best to follow through until it becomes second nature. Be consistent, stick to the routine, use your planner and checklists, and eat healthy.

Some things to keep in mind:

Offer frequent earned breaks. This means that you shouldn’t necessarily reward based on the clock. Try and reward for completion of tasks but keep the tasks small and age appropriate when you first start. Eventually you will be able to work your way up to longer tasks that require sustained efforts.

Don’t expect all the homework to be done in one sitting. Perhaps do one subject the offer an earned break. Sure it will take longer to do homework but you child will soon see that they actually can do it if it is divided into chunks.

As the adult, you may also see some of these same challenges. Recent studies suggest that there is a significant genetic component to ADHD. Use this to relate to and understand your child. If you see yourself in your child share with them your experiences and things that worked for you. Perhaps you still struggle with some of the same obstacles as your child which makes it all the more important. Assure them that they are not alone and you are a team. This can help alleviate tension and anxiety that can creep up.

No one knows your child better than you. Do your best to establish a routine and be consistent and you will see your child succeed and grow.


Cuddle Fairy
The Secret Diary of Agent Spitback

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  1. April 20, 2016 / 6:01 am

    So lovely to find and read this so shortly after considering meds for our eldest’s ADHD. Thanks for the advice (we do a lot of it anyway because it works for the boys autism), it’s just nice to hear from a mum instead of a doctor’s note. xxx #BloggerClubUK

  2. April 23, 2016 / 4:41 am

    That’s a great tip – reward based on task! I hadn’t thought of that and that itself would be a strong motivator rather than watching the clock. Great list! #PasstheSauce

    • Leanne
      April 23, 2016 / 9:21 am

      That’s right…watching the clock or rushing will often lead to less than amazing results. I’m glad you were able to find something new to try ?. Thanks again for hosting a great link up! #passthesauce

  3. April 25, 2016 / 3:10 pm

    I am sure this will help lots of people who have had these struggles, especially being a mum and having been through it yourself. Thank you for joining us at #BloggeClubUK hope to see you again this week x

    • Leanne
      April 26, 2016 / 6:16 pm

      Yes, I’m hoping that someone will be able to learn an use these to help a child succeed (or at least make life a little easier for all involved!) ?. Thanks for stopping by!

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