Executive Function Skill
Is it a Routine or a Struggle?
There are numerous theories about how the brain works, but what I have come to believe is that we can think of the brain as having three parts or personalities. They are the “robot”, the “Yoda” and the “monkey” brain.
The monkey brain is the emotional part of the brain, it is what happens when our self-control is gone and our emotions take control. It is the brain that doesn’t think before acting and is often full of movement and impulsivity.
The Yoda brain is the brain we use for learning and making decisions (when emotions are not involved), it is the rational, thinking brain.
And lastly, the robot brain is the brain that controls our habits and routines. It is preprogrammed to do things automatically with little or no thought involved. The robot brain does not create habits on its own, especially if ADHD is involved. It takes training and practicing and often some tweaking before a set of actions can become a habit. Once there is a habit, the brain can relax and just follow through the motions without having to use up its decision-making energy.
Routines that use the “robot” brain can save you time and brain energy. When a habit or series of steps becomes automatic, you no longer have to think about what to do next. You probably already have several routines that you do each day.
- Does your morning start the same way each day?
- How about your evening, does it have a routine?
- Does your work day have a routine?
- Bill paying?
- Dinner routine?
- Tax routine (Quarterly taxes or April 15)
- Laundry routine?
- Weekly reset routine?
- Planning routine for the week?
You get the idea. There are plenty of opportunities to create a routine that helps you get through your day without using up valuable brain bandwidth.
Where Could You Use A Routine to Save Time and Energy?
- Are you frequently late for work or appointments?
- Do you need to get groceries before you can cook dinner?
- Have you ever missed a bill payment or paid a late fee?
- Is your home cluttered and/or disorganized?
If you answered “yes” to even one of the questions above, then a routine can help.
Create a Routine
First, pick a problem to solve. Why is that a problem? Now, think about what it would be like if that was no longer a problem. How would your life be different?
Next, pick three steps (yes, just three) that you think are important for this new routine you are creating. It may not be the entire routine, but it is the 3 most basic steps to get you started. Now close your eyes and run through those steps in your mind. Does it flow smoothly or should you do the steps in a different order?
An ADHD brain can struggle to remember the order of steps which makes each day a new pattern. This doesn’t help create a routine and actually uses MORE brain power and decision-making energy. The idea of the routine is that when it is automatic, you are saving brain power and energy because there is no thinking involved.
Finally, find the order of steps that works best and “practice” doing it until it becomes a habit. Then you can slowly add more steps to the routine, making sure it works for you and the way you think.
It has been suggested that linking a new habit with an already established habit can make an effective “trigger” to start the new habit. Is there something you already do that you can link this new routine to?
Once you feel the first routine is working you can either expand it (although don’t make it complicated) or you can start to develop another routine to help yourself solve another challenge.
Habits are tricky things but once they are established – the benefits far outweigh the struggle at the beginning. Keep at it. We are here if you would like some coaching to help you design and navigate establishing new habits and routines.
Planning for the ADHD Brain
- Create a list of all the tasks you want/need to remember. Often our brain will wake us up in the middle of the night because it doesn’t want us to forget something. Often, we think we will remember in the morning, but we don’t. List everything you can think of. Yes, I know it can be overwhelming, but your brain is trying to hold onto all of it anyway so, why not help it. This is commonly called a “brain dump.” Don’t let the undone to do’s keep you up.
- Put everything on it, even that project you “hope” to get to someday but make sure that it is in the form of the smallest action you can take. Redo the dining room is too big of a project, so you should write down the steps that are involved. (Helpful apps: color note, Evernote, Trello, todoist, etc.)
- Write down any deadlines or due dates and be sure to highlight those things that need to be done in the current month.
- Estimate how long those things will take – be realistic.
- Pick the three top things you want or must do tomorrow
- Now either add them into your calendar or set aside a “block” of time (preferably each day) that you will tackle those tasks.
- Create a planning habit where you look ahead at your week, add in any appointments and then pick 3 tasks off of this master list. Don’t cross them off your master to do list unless you ACTUALLY complete them. Don’t add more than 3. When you do complete them you can go for more but 3 is a successful day.
- Celebrate your successes. Remember you will always have a list – just make sure it has what is important to you. Life will get in the way….so start each day fresh and don’t carry things over from the previous day unless you really have to.
- Pick the important things to do and not the “easy” things if you want to really work your plan and not just engage in “Procrastivity”.
Where Oh Where Is My Motivation?
Motivation is that “intangible thing” that drives us to do something willingly. I’m sure you have felt it when you get into a project and the time flies by and you are making great progress. You may also have experienced motivation’s evil twin “procrastination.” That’s when no matter how hard you try you cannot seem to make progress. It is often accompanied by feelings of guilt, frustration, stress and anger.
Motivation has been defined as the purpose one has for taking action. It can be an internal or external push but many people believe that you either have motivation or you don’t. What do you think? On a scale from 1-10 how would you rate your level of motivation for the next “to-do” item on your list?
If you don’t have it, then what can you do to get it? It is not like you can order it or buy it at your local motivation store – although that would be sweet. No, you have to dig deep or figure out some strategies that will work for you. Everyone has to find what motivates them but there are some strategies that everyone can benefit from.
Know Your Big Why
“Motivation is a set of habits and routines, guided by your values and your identity, that you carry out every day.” “When you combine purpose, energy and small simple steps, you get sustainable motivation.” says Jim Kwik, author of Limitless (the book I am currently reading).
It seems that knowing your purpose or your big WHY for doing “x” plays a big role in your motivation. If you don’t know why you are doing something or it is not important to you, then it is no surprise that you cannot get motivated to do it. I am thinking of all the students that get “busy” work to fill their time without ever being given the reasoning behind the work. No wonder it is so challenging for students to do homework.
Once you understand the purpose (your purpose) for doing the task then Jim Kwik talks about managing your energy. It is easier to be motivated if you are feeling your best – but what does that entail? Kwik talks about…
- the 10 healthiest foods for your brain
- the importance of sleep, water and exercise
- controlling those automatic negative thoughts (ANTs) that tend to sneak in when things aren’t going well.
When you are motivated – extremely motivated, it is often referred to as being in “flow.”
Find Your Edge
Another author, James Clear (of Atomic Habits fame) also mentions that whatever you are working on needs to provide a certain amount of challenge – but not too much. He refers to the Goldilocks rule this way, “humans experience peak motivation when working on tasks that are right on the edge of their current abilities – not too hard, not too easy, just right. Now look at what you are trying to do, is it within that range?
Make sure that you are not losing motivation because you are looking at a “project” with multiple steps vs. just the next step in the process. The smaller the step, the more likely you will be motivated to do it. James Clear also suggests that you schedule when you will work on it because you are more likely to work on something that has been scheduled rather than waiting until you feel motivated to work on it. Waiting for that feeling – rarely happens but you can help encourage motivation by setting up a routine that tells your brain it is time to get working on “x”. Clear calls it a “pregame routine” where it starts a series of motions that are simple to do but moves you in the direction of actually working on whatever it is. It’s a bit like Newton’s law of a body in motion stays in motion. So, once you get moving on it, make sure you are getting some feedback about the progress you are making. Look for successes in the smallest bits of progress so that you can feel good about the action you are taking. This will help feed your brain the dopamine it craves to keep working.
Motivation then becomes more about something you DO, rather than something you need to FIND. It’s not missing – you had the power within you all the time Dorothy.
Hey Students! Organize Yourself for the New Learning Environment (Whether it is Remote, Hybrid, In Person, or Combined)
There is so much to think about as the new school year begins. With the pandemic continuing, each town has devised its own plan for what “school” will look like this fall. For some that may include half or full days, or a combination of two days in school and three remote or every other day or every other week. So many options, I cannot begin to cover them all. However, many of the schools are starting two weeks later than usual. Don’t let that fool you. It’s time to get organized! Where to begin?
The toughest part of any hybrid learning model is going to be staying organized. There are in person assignments to organize and remote work as well. Fluctuating schedules to keep track of, technology to keep charged and log in information to organize. Then of course there is organizing oneself for this new method of learning. Whew!
Let’s start with the easy stuff. Where will you work? You want to have one place to work where you have all the supplies and space you need. It needs to be comfortable, but not too comfy. Make sure the lighting is good and that you are not working in your own shadow. Get a comfortable chair where your feet can touch the floor. Keep it distraction free – but hang photos that make you feel good. How will you keep track of everything? Do you use your phone or a paper planner, or sticky notes? The best one, is the one that works for you. Make it a habit to put everything in it though, so nothing can fall through the cracks.
Next organize your technology. Make sure you have all the log in information for the websites you need to log onto and the password information. Set up folders for each subject on your device. Create a reminder for turning assignments in as that is often a step that can easily get missed. If you have a way to track what is passed in, then if it “gets lost” you have proof. Move the chargers to your new space so that your equipment does not have to be moved to be charged. Turn notifications off by putting privacy settings on while you are doing your homework. You can spend all night working or you can get it done effectively and have some well-deserved downtime for yourself. Which would you rather do?
Now your materials will need to include hand sanitizer and masks as well as all the standard stuff. Chances are you will have less paper to keep track of this year so why not go with a small notebook or binder that has room for all your classes. If you keep it cleaned out of the completed topics you should easily be able to fit a full term’s worth of papers in a 1- or 11/2-inch notebook. That should hold between 200 and 300 pages. That does include the necessary weekly clean out of papers no longer needed. Maintaining your supplies is important too. You may need reminders to carry a spare mask or two with you or weekly refilling of your hand sanitizer and a disinfecting spray of the backpack and wipe down of your tech.
To organize yourself, may end up being the most challenging part of this school year. You have an obligation to yourself and your family to do your best to stay healthy. That requires regular health habits including sleep which can be difficult for teens. It will mean keeping your materials clean and switching out your mask daily. Students need to find time to be active, whether it is playing a sport or shooting hoops in the driveway, something that keeps those synapses happy.
You will need to realize that this is probably not the way your teacher had hoped the year would start out either. Teachers are working extra hard to juggle all the pieces of the hybrid plan and have to be flexible enough to adapt if things should change. They have families too and may not be as available as they would normally be for providing extra support. You will need to take that responsibility on yourself. Make sure that you understand the concepts that are being presented and don’t wait to discover you did poorly on the exam before looking for help. Can you explain the key points of the topic to yourself? Then spend time studying what you DON’T know. Take good notes in case you need to use them to teach yourself.
How much time do you spend doing your homework? If you allow distractions to interrupt you, you are taking away from your focus and adding about 20 minutes more to your work time to regain that level of focus. Take short breaks in between assignments and give your brain some nourishment and process time. It will thank you by working more efficiently – saving you time and energy in the end. Also take five minutes to put everything back where it belongs when you are done working.
Good luck, stay healthy and stop the spread by doing your part. This will be a year unlike any other!
The “Next” Normal of Learning
As if the daily struggle with homework was not enough stress, now you are being asked to help your child learn online and complete work via a screen. How are you and your children adjusting to this “online learning?”
There are only a few weeks left, but do you feel that your child has really “learned” how to learn for themselves remotely? It is not necessarily about the content but have they learned to be a self-directed learner or are you guiding them throughout each day?
All brains may struggle with this new way of doing things. However, an ADHD brain may struggle with the new way of learning, and the different “schedule”, the distractions at home, the challenge of not being able to ask the teacher whatever pops into their heads and the sitting in one place for longer periods of time. All this can make 30 minutes of work take 3 hours instead. Parents can become frustrated at the amount of time and coercing this work can take. Please remember your relationship with your child is the number one priority. Don’t let the pressure of getting the work done interfere with your relationship. This is new for them too.
Next Normal: Learning
- Start with making a “work” zone. A place where your child can set up the iPad or laptop and has space to work if needed. Clutter increases distraction and can interrupt their focus. Make it a calm, clear space for work that has the tools they will need within reach. Put a clock or timer nearby so they can see how much time they have to finish. (If you give them all day, it will take all day. Set a limit.) Setting kids up on their beds is NOT recommended, it gives the body the wrong idea but give them the option to stand up while they work may help some kids focus easier. See what works for your child. If they choose to sit, be sure their feet touch the floor or put a box under them so they’re legs are not dangling.
- Remember this is a new way of learning for your kids. They are essentially being asked to teach themselves without the same type of interaction they would have in school. It is pass/fail for this term so let them do their best and leave it at that. It does not help the teacher to know where your child might need more help, if you are making them correct all their errors before turning things in. Find ways to make it fun, and pay attention to what kinds of things seem to be difficult for your child. Work together to find other ways they can learn. The summer will be a great time to reinforce their weaker skills but for now, help them get through this new experience.
- Break up the “work” time into small blocks. If the kids were in school, they would be going to specialists, having snack break or recess. Encourage them to move more and get outside during these breaks. Set a timer so they know when it is time to get back to work. We don’t want them having to work all day. Create a schedule everyone can agree on.
- Kids need time to adjust to transitions, especially if it is from play to work. Set timers for all breaks or give a warning when they have 5 minutes left, 2 minutes or 1-minute left. Then let them know how long they have to work. For younger kids, a time timer works to show the passage of time. It gives kids the knowledge that this “torture” won’t continue for too much longer.
Lastly, take time to connect with your kids throughout the day. Yes, it is difficult to balance the responsibilities of work with family life, but we are all experiencing this together. No one is expecting you to focus 100% on your job throughout the day. Take time for yourself and your family because when this is over – things will not go back to “normal.” However, this “next normal” can be better for you and your family if you put the time in now.
With ADHD – Love is Not Enough
Although February is often thought of as the month of love and relationships, when it comes to ADHD and relationships, every month is important. All strong relationships are based on trust and love but also include, patience, understanding and open communication. The same things that are necessary in any relationship where there is ADHD.
Whether you are an adult with ADHD, live with an adult with ADHD, or are the parent of a child with ADHD, you need patience, understanding and open communication for everyone to thrive. Let’s take a deeper look at how these three things can make a BIG difference in your relationships.
Patience: The actions and behaviors of someone with ADHD can look intentional but weak Executive function (EF) skills and a chemical imbalance in the brain are often to blame. Executive function skills in the pre-frontal cortex are the skills that allow us to plan and execute our priorities. In kids, these EF skills don’t mature until around age 25 and in some adults, the problem is they never developed effective strategies to compensate for their weak EF skills. So, patience is important when a weak working memory makes it difficult to remember things (even if you just said it). Task initiation is a fancy way of saying they can’t get started on things – especially if they are tedious, unexciting or complicated. Which means they often don’t finish things either. But the biggest impact is often around a sense of time, especially the passage of time. Those with ADHD are often unaware of how long things take or how long they have been hyper-focused on something they enjoy.
You can help by:
- Summarizing what you are asking in as few words as possible
- Ask your child to repeat back what they are going to do
- Set timers so that others are aware of the passage of time
- Create a routine around getting started on a task
Understanding: Those with ADHD feel their emotions intensely and sometimes one little remark can cause them to spiral out of control. Odds are it had little to do with what was said but was the result of things building up over their day. Their challenge is to inhibit those emotions when they don’t match the situation. Planning and organizing their thoughts into actions is not a fluid process and can be challenging for those with ADHD. They may tend to jump around and have their “process” all out of order (in your mind) and that shouldn’t matter unless they don’t follow through. You can help by asking questions and getting them to think about some of the details they might tend to miss. Forcing them to do it “your way” will almost always fail. Getting stuck or being unable to consider other options can be a sign that they struggle to think flexibly and helping them see other perspectives or ideas can often help.
You can help by:
- Stay calm and don’t get pulled in by their over reaction
- Make a plan together but let them lead (Mind maps help to get all the info out)
- Encourage them to use positive self-talk when working through a problem
- Remember ADHD is neurobiological (chemical not intentional)
Communication: Working memory shows up here too. In communicating with someone with ADHD it is important to not put in too much “extra” information as they cannot remember all of it. They also often have difficulty “reading” facial cues and may miss important cues. It is important that you have their full attention before beginning to speak. For kids, CHADD suggests you be within arm’s reach and use their name before you begin speaking. Lead with questions that start with “what” and not “why” as why questions tend to imply guilt. Allow some “think time” so they have a chance to process what you just said. If you interrupt before they are done thinking it through, they may need to start the process all over again.
You can help by:
- Gaining their attention before speaking
- Use simple and concise language
- Ask “what” questions to get them to think
- Provide feedback to be sure you understand their message (It sounds like you were really frustrated when that happened.”)
I know it can be frustrating when someone you love has ADHD, but it is also frustrating for them. I hope these strategies/tips help but if you are still struggling check out our new classes for Moms and Dads.
What to Do When They Won’t Change Their Mind
I once had a student that was having difficulty turning in his homework. He would do it, but when it came time to pass it in, he could not find it. He had a “homework folder” where all of his finished work was supposed to go, but his work was not there. When asked, “Where else did you look?” He was unable to answer. In his mind (we later discovered), if it wasn’t in the homework folder there was nowhere else to look. Does this sound familiar?
This is an example of cognitive inflexibility – difficulty changing or shifting your mindset when the most logical answer does not bring results. Needless to say, upon further searching, other homework papers were found at the bottom of the backpack, stuffed inside a text book and also on his desk at home. All papers exactly where he had left them, yet he had no recollection.
Cognitive inflexibility is real. It is one of the Executive Function skills that develop in the pre-cortex of the brain. It can be measured on certain IQ tests and on the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Functions. It has two components: a cognitive shift and a behavioral shift. Simply put, if your child cannot change their thoughts or their behavior when they realize something is not working, then it may be from cognitive inflexibility. You may have seen it when they get “stuck” on their math, or they don’t know what to do, but won’t accept your help because you, “don’t do it like the teacher.” Or have you ever noticed their perspective of what happened, does not quite agree with the other person’s perspective? All related to cognitive inflexibility.
As an Executive Function skill, cognitive flexibility will continue to develop but, in the meantime, it can cause some issues. Try to help your child see other people’s perspectives. You can explain how things are not always “black and white” (another sign of this underdeveloped skill and often related to ADHD), and that there are always other possibilities. They can help themselves by starting with some simple questions. A research study indicated that there was a close relationship between cognitive flexibility and inner speech among both children and adults. It appears as though inner speech may increase top-down control during shifting of thoughts (i.e. flexibility). https://mentalhealthdaily.com/2015/07/26/7-ways-to-increase-your-cognitive-flexibility/
Try having your child ask themselves these questions:
“What do I already know that will help me?
“What should this look like when it is done?”
“What should I do first, second and third?”
During: “How am I doing?”
“Am I on the right track?”
“Is there another or better way?”
“What do I do if I get stuck?”
After: “What strategies did I use?”
“Did I get stuck or have to change my thinking?”
“What did I learn from this?”
Developing this ability to shift thinking or shift behavior can also be improved through games and activities. Games to encourage the development of cognitive flexibility include: Set, Othello, Connect 4, Mastermind, and Gobblet. Activities include: Stroop (where color words are written in different colors and they must say the color they are printed in), optical illusions, maps with multiple ways to the destination and Tower of Hanoi. Other activities include changing up routines, learning a new skill, exercise, getting out in nature, and video games that have multiple streams of information that have to be manipulated simultaneously.
For more strategies: Check out our blog, Stuck? 12 Ways to Encourage Cognitive Flexibility
The Pros and Cons of Talking to Yourself
Do you talk to yourself? It’s okay to admit it, it is perfectly normal and research says it can even be helpful. Talking to yourself can help you focus. For example, if you are looking for your keys and you keep repeating “keys” “keys” you are more likely to find them than if you did not say anything. Talking to yourself can help you slow down your thoughts so that you are able to process them more completely and come up with better solutions to problems. It can also help you process strong emotions and lessen their impact. Of course, listening to what you are saying to yourself is important too. That inner voice pulls from a knowledge base that is often hindered by the noise of everyday life. Used in a positive way talking to yourself can be your cheerleader, motivator, problem solver, self-esteem booster or devil’s advocate.
However, if that voice is negative, it can eat away at your self-esteem and actually have more of a negative impact on whatever it is that went wrong and on your feelings about yourself. We may not think that it has an impact but when your brain hears it, it cannot discern whether it is true or not, so it tries to justify it -often making the real solutions difficult to see.
So, listen to the words you use and how you communicate with yourself. Keep it in the positive and the results will be positive. Let it go negative and you may need several positives to cancel out the effects of that one negative. Don’t let others impact that voice that you hear and help your children learn how to best talk to themselves.
Use this information to guide your child/teen into thinking about what they are saying to themselves and pay attention to the tone and words they are using.
- If they are talking in a negative way their brain is listening to what they are saying and it often seems that it tries to “justify or make” it true
- Negative talk can interfere with their growth mindset by taking away that focus on effort and learning and focusing on what they can’t do or on failure instead
- Negative self-talk impacts your child’s self-esteem and can have long lasting effects on how they feel about themselves and their abilities.
Instead, help them listen to themselves and redirect those negative voices.
- Name that negative voice. Maybe Negative Nelly or Disappointing Dan will help them recognize when that voice shows up.
- Have a mantra or saying they can use to rid the voice of its influence.
- Teach them the power of the word “yet”. I am not good at math….yet, but with more effort I can be.
- Encourage them to speak positively to themselves and to use that inner voice as their own cheerleader.
Self-talk can help us become more creative, it can solidify memories, and it can help us problem solve. Of course, if you are talking out loud and there are others around you, it may also cause people to look at you strangely:-). Do not worry about them, they probably haven’t experienced the positives that can come from talking to themselves – but if they call the “white coats” – run:-)
5 Gifts to Give Your Child For School
It’s getting close to the start of school and you can feel the emotions in the air. There is excitement, fear, uncertainty, anticipation, restlessness, and worry and that’s just from the moms! I am guessing that some students are feeling the same emotions. Yes, there is always a bit of fear of the unknown but for kids that have had a “bad experience” going back to school can be scary and demoralizing. As a parent you hope this year will be different and that your son or daughter will get a teacher that understands him/her and can actually help them develop strategies that will get their homework done in a reasonable time and teach them to learn. That’s not too much to ask, is it?
Gift 1: First up is to decide whether or not to tell the new teacher all about your child’s struggles and challenges before she even meets him or her? Or do you wait a bit and then provide the teacher with the effective strategies your child developed with last year’s teacher? To tell or not to tell, that is the question. Is it better for your child to have a clean slate and to make their strengths and weaknesses known on their own terms to the new teacher or to provide the teacher with the outside testing, recommendations, and a record of their failings from the past year? Having taught for over 18 years, I just want to say that your child deserves to be recognized for who they are….right at this moment and not who they were last year. As hard as teachers try, they cannot help being overwhelmed by the start of the new year and the many notes and emails from parents tends to “cloud” their perception.
Gift 2: Instead of waiting for the teacher to figure out what your child needs, help your child figure it out. For those students with ADHD and/or Executive Dysfunction challenges it is imperative that they understand that there is nothing “wrong” with them – their brain just thinks differently. They should have a basic understanding of how their ADHD “shows up” and begin to recognize what works and what doesn’t work for them. That way they can advocate for themselves or at least help the teacher figure out a better way to help them. Remember to tell them that it is neurobiological – about the level of the chemicals in their brain and not about them not being smart. ADHD brains are some of the smartest brains around (Richard Branson, Will Smith, Michael Jordan, Albert Einstein, Emma Watson, Zoey Deschanel, etc.) they are just wired differently. One caution, the simpler the strategy, the more likely it is ADHD friendly.
Gift 3: Another gift to give your child is that of a growth mindset. A Growth mindset as defined by Dr. Carol Dweck, “is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts….everyone can change and grow through application and experience.” So, if something is hard, it is only because they haven’t learned it…..”YET!” With effort they will be able to get it and that leaves their self-esteem intact. Whereas a fixed mindset, according to Dweck, ““Believing your qualities are carved in stone – the fixed mindset – creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over. “ So you strive for the good grades in order to feel good about yourself. Then when you do poorly on something, you feel like a failure. Your motivation dwindles because in this mindset, nothing you can do can improve your grade. You’re stuck in a fixed mindset. (Click here to watch a YouTube video of Dr. Dweck)
With a fixed mindset and a few bad grades, a student will begin to believe that they are not good at a subject. They may carry that perception all through school when in fact they may have missed some key concepts early on, didn’t take the time to memorize their facts or had a teacher they disliked. None of these things should prevent them from succeeding but a fixed mindset may cause them to give up and not try. If they can develop a growth mindset and see failure as an opportunity to put in more work and figure it out, then they can succeed. (Gift 4) They will need to learn how to learn and to develop a toolbox of strategies they can rely on. This puts them in the driver’s seat of their academic life which is ultimately where we want them to be.
Your patience and understanding that ADHD is indeed neurobiological and that all the prodding and why questions will not help them get what needs to be done, done. Gift 5: Your help in getting them to become aware of how their ADHD is showing up and then together….let me repeat that….together figuring out a strategy that can help solve or at least compensate for that weakness is the best way to help them thrive. Set it up as an experiment so that it can be tweaked or tossed depending on its effectiveness. Not judging but evaluating its success helps kids try different strategies until they find what works. An example might be putting a huge sticky on the back door with a list of what they need to bring to school, or having them write test dates on a central calendar and together checking it each day so they build that sense of what’s coming up (help them study at least three days before).
By giving these gifts to your child, you are building their self-esteem while still supplying the support they need without the blame. The biggest problem with ADHD is that the low dopamine level in the brain makes it very difficult to get things done that are boring, difficult or confusing (ie.homework). Kids don’t have the push to just get through it…they need your help.
If you feel that you are too close to the situation and can’t provide your child with the unemotional support or strategies they need and would like to learn how to best support your child then contact us about our “Parenting your Child with ADHD” class or individual coaching services. We are here to help.
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