8 Discipline Strategies for Kids With ADHD

When you have a child with ADHD, you may need a different approach to discipline. A few simple changes to your parenting strategies could give your child the tools they need to manage their behavior more effectively.

Kids with ADHD may have trouble sitting still, completing tasks, managing impulses, and following directions.1 These discipline strategies can be instrumental in helping a child with challenging behaviors to follow the rules.

Provide Positive Attention

Parenting a child with ADHD can be exhausting. Their never-ending supply of energy and desire to talk constantly can tire even the most patient parent. However, providing a child with ADHD positive attention is a good investment.

Positive playtime reduces attention-seeking behavior. And it will make your consequences more effective. No matter how difficult their behavior has been, set aside one-on-one time with your child every day.

Give Effective Instructions

Kids with short attention spans need extra help following directions. Quite often, they don’t hear the instructions in the first place. To make your instructions more effective, start by gaining your child’s full attention. Turn off the television, establish eye contact, and place a hand on your child’s shoulder before making a request.

Avoid chain commands like, “Put on your socks, clean your room, and then take out the trash.” A child with ADHD is likely to put on their socks, and then on the way to their room, find something else to do rather than clean it. Give one instruction at a time.1

Stay away from broad tasks like “clean your room.” Instead, provide a checklist or assign one task a time, such as making the bed, putting dirty clothes in the hamper, replacing books on the shelf, and so on.

Praise Your Child’s Effort

Catch your child being good and point it out. Praise motivates children with ADHD to behave, and frequent feedback is important.2

Make your praise specific. Instead of saying, “Nice job,” say, “Great job putting your dish in the sink right when I asked you to.” Praise your child for following directions, playing quietly, and sitting still and you’ll encourage them to keep it up.

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