As you watch your child joyfully pack his bag and talk about how excited he is to meet his friend, you become more anxious about how ADHD will affect their learning and behavior in the classroom. Every parent has concerns for their child, but you don’t have to fret because we have your back! This blog post will answer a commonly asked question: how do I help my child with ADHD in school? by giving you the best back-to-school tips for a child with ADHD.
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To plow a successful path for your child, you have to understand how ADHD affects learning and why children with ADHD struggle in school. ADHD affects your child’s ability to focus, pay attention, listen, stay motivated, or put effort into schoolwork. Moreover, ADHD can change your child’s behavior and make them fidgety, restless, talk too much, or disrupt the class. As ADHD tampers with their learning and skills, the disorder often causes students to fall behind their classmates and prevents them from excelling at school even though they are bright.
If you are a parent of a student with ADHD and are searching for the best ways to help children with ADHD, then you should take the tips we listed below:
- Set up a meeting with your child’s teacher—many pieces of research have shown that parents who actively participate in their child’s schooling improve the quality of education they receive. You should talk to their teachers regularly to keep yourself updated on their academic performance and behavior at school. Get your teacher’s input and ask if an updated assessment or outside support would be helpful.
- Reward your child - set goals for your child every day and praise them every time they follow your instructions and do as you say. This will lift their spirits and encourage them to do better. No, No matter how small they seem, they should be available to allow your child to experience success! Invite your child to be involved in the process. They could choose their own rewards, which motivates them! Remember, rewards do not have to be monetary. Get creative. What about a coupon jar labeled "get out of a chore-free," "choose dinner for the family," "mom or dad has to jump in the pool with their clothes on," or "pick a game to play with mom or dad?" Make it fun!
- Establish a study and homework schedule to help your child plan ahead—you should talk to your child and decide the best time to study to complete their homework. Don’t forget to schedule brief breaks in between! Find a calendar that works for your family and make it visual. It could be an electronic calendar or a large paper desktop calendar; use fun colors to delineate different activities, including studying time, homework time, and unstructured downtime. Checking off each activity upon completion can provide another opportunity for your child to experience a sense of success.
- Organize your child’s schooling material - ensure that your child is with you while you are labeling their folders and packing their backpacks, as this will help improve their organizational skills.
Children stay with their teachers for almost half the day, and they are often willing to help support your child if they know they are struggling and if they have the resources to do so. So, how can teachers support students with ADHD?
- Seat your students diagnosed with ADHD in a place where there are fewer distractions. Notice what peers surround the student. If it is a student who needs to move around or stand, allow them to sit off to the side.
- Remind your students to complete their classroom tasks or homework. A notebook that travels between home and school, listing assignments, can provide an important means of communication between teachers and parents. Both parties can initial the notebook daily as a means of ensuring that the notebook has been checked.
- Give your students extra time to finish their class or homework. However, be aware that allowing for constant extensions may lead to work accumulating and children becoming overwhelmed. An alternative to consider is to agree on the amount of time that should be spent on an assignment and provide a grade based on the quality of work completed as opposed to quantity.
- Help them organize their materials. Provide regular desk checks to ensure that organization is maintained.
- Praise their efforts and be warm and encouraging. No recognition is too small. Catch a child being "good,” no matter how brief. For example, saying, “I like the way that you got out of your folder when I reminded you.”
- Teach your children how to recheck their work for errors. This can be done by changing the color of their pen to re-check their work. Changing colors provides a mental shift into work-checking mode. Make a list of the top three common errors so as to provide more guidance for work checking. For example, Did you write your name? Did you solve every problem? Does every sentence have end punctuation?
Children with ADHD may struggle in school, but if parents and teachers take steps to accommodate them in their classrooms, they can help those students learn more efficiently. If you are looking for professional support to help your child manage their school work and treat their symptoms, check out our best treatments for ADHD over here.