Oftentimes children with ADHD exhibit avoidant or delayed reactions to certain tasks. As a parent you think a few things. One, they’re not listening on purpose; or two, they have a hearing problem. Well guess what? It’s neither of those.
When a child finds a task very difficult because it seems long, or because it is something they just don’t like, they will exhibit certain behaviors. They will avoid the task, delay the task or escape from the task. These are coping mechanisms because starting the task seems like it’s going to be an impossible feat.
Here are 6 things you can do with your child to help ease these feelings of avoidance, delay or escape.
- Break tasks into smaller chunks: Learning is learning, and time frames differ from child to child. A child that avoids a task because it seems too long will probably at least attempt one that is smaller. If it’s a reading assignment with a lot of questions, cut up the questions and tackle one at a time. If its a math page with 50 problems, start with one column. Do something else and then come back to the next column until all problems are done. Dealing with a smaller task is a lot more manageable than fighting over one long giant task.
- Praise effort and hard work instead of completion: Children with ADHD hear soooo much negativity throughout their day that when they hear praise, it’s like a pattern interrupt and it will more likely cause the child to stop and listen. It’s like a reset button. When your child is finally working and has remained working for a few minutes, praise them. Say “I am so proud of you for working this hard”.
- Set a timer: Oftentimes one of the biggest reasons a child will delay the activity is because they don’t have a clear concept of time and an activity seems like it will take FOREVER!! This causes them to avoid the task. Setting a timer with visual cues to the amount of time it will take will make the task seem less daunting.
- Positive reinforcement!!!: Praise your child when they focus, praise them when they work, praise them when they finish, praise them all the time. Praising your child when they have ADHD is the fuel that keeps their motor running. They come across so many NO!’s all day long that a YES! Good Job!! goes a loooooooong way.
- Provide many non-verbal cues: Sometimes a tap on the shoulder or a back rub can have a much greater effect than yelling and reprimanding. Especially if you need to redirect your avoidant child back to work. Oftentimes children with ADHD have sensory issues and feeling the pressure of your hand on their back is very soothing. So much so, that it will relax them and coax them to get back to work.
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