If your child has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, you may have noticed that they struggle to focus on tasks that do not interest them as much as others. Children with ADHD can hyperfocus on things like video games, but they struggle to pay attention to school lessons or a long list of instructions. Teaching them different ways to manage distractions is important to improving their focus.
It is not impossible for a student with ADHD to focus – they just may need to do it in a different way. Help your child find the best way to pay attention when it counts.
Use a Guided Distraction Tool
Recently, this method has become popular through toys like fidget spinners and other distraction-oriented devices. However, any object works if you teach your child to use it with the right intentions. When your child feels the need to move at an inappropriate time, teach them to reach for their object. Some children may benefit from a simple paperclip in their pocket to bend and twist, while others will prefer to stretch a rubber band. Whatever they choose, let them try to focus distracted energy into the object so their brain can focus on the important tasks at hand.
Keep Workspaces Clear
Organization can be difficult for children with ADHD, but instilling organizational skills can help keep distraction at bay. Give your child a place to read, do assignments, or even work on puzzles. Keep this place clear of all distractions, with all the necessary tools organized where they can be easily accessed. Without a cluttered workspace, your child can more efficiently put energy into activities, rather than focusing on what is around them.
Give Instructions One Step at a Time
Instead of a long list of instructions on how to complete a task, give your child small bits at a time. Once they have completed the first steps, talk about the work with them and provide further instructions. Engaging with your child and giving positive feedback on what they have already accomplished makes it more worth their while and encourages them to look forward to the next steps.
Whatever you choose to do, be consistent. Children with ADHD thrive on routine. When they know what to expect, it is easier for them to pay attention despite changes throughout the day. Practice patience with your child as they learn new ways to focus, as it doesn’t always come quickly. With trial and error, you and your child will figure out what works best.