How to Help Children with ADHD

(Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)






ADHD is a condition that becomes apparent in some children in the preschool or early childhood years.  It is characterized by inattention, impulsivity, distractibility, and hyperactivity that significantly affects a child's daily functioning.  Controlling their own behavior and maintaining attention is a challenge for children with ADHD. A child diagnosed with ADHD has a difficult but reachable task ahead.  In order to achieve his or her full potential, it is necessary for the child to receive help, guidance and support from his or her parents, siblings, teachers, and others in their life  Children diagnosed with ADHD by a qualified professional may be helped by the following parenting tips.  This information is not an adequate substitute for an individualized behavior modification program that a parent and school can implement.



Your Child has ADHD -- Now What? 

How to Cope at Home
1.  Always show your child affection and focus on the positive aspects of his/her behavior.

2.  Stay calm when dealing with your child.  If you feel frustrated or irritated take a few moments to collect yourself.  Remember that the more calm and relaxed you are, the calmer your child will be.

3.  Keep a regular schedule for meals, bedtime, consider posting a written schedule.  This will help your child remember expectations.  If changes are coming up, make sure your child is aware and prepared for it. 

4.  Use calendars or other organizational tools to help your child to have a visual aid to stay organized.  Refer to the calendar or schedule often to help your child stay on track and be prepared. 

5.  Set aside a special time and quiet place with limited distractions for you and your child to do homework together.   Make sure your child knows the expectations of homework time and maybe have an activity they like to do or other reward available for when they have completed their homework.

6.  Give clear, concrete instructions and make sure household rules and expectations are well defined and consistent.

7.  Support your child's special talents and interests.  Children with ADHD often have a number of strengths.  With the support of their parents, these strengths can be developed and are a great way to build your child's self-esteem.  For example, children with ADHD may often have athletic or artistic talents that should be focused on.

8.  When dealing with your teenage child with ADHD, make sure you communicate with them.  This is a very challenging time for them and the added stress of ADHD even more difficult.  Communicating often with your teenager will help keep a close relationship and show your child that you support them. 

Helping Your Child Become More Successful During School

1.  Talk to your child's teachers as soon as possible.  Let your child's teacher know of his/her condition and some of the things that you have found to work at home or that previous teachers have done.  Make sure to work with the teacher and always realize that he/she may have 25 other students to teach- so be realistic about your expectations.  However, your child deserves the best education she can get.  Remember that you are your child's number one advocate.

2.  Have your child keep a daily assignment log to help you know exactly what needs to be completed for the next day (See our Homework Hints section). This will also help your child self manage and visualize what needs to be done.  Parents and teachers can sign the log if necessary in order to provide further monitoring for children who really need it.

3.  A daily notebook should be kept so that communication between you and your child's teacher remains fresh and current.  This way any problems that arise (either at home or at school) can be communicated and dealt with immediately. This strategy also cuts down on phone calls from the school, playing phone tag, or relying on your child to give you information.  If the teacher is willing, ask if he/she could send home weekly or bi-monthly progress reports on your child.  Some teachers may prefer notes via email as well.

4.  Make sure to reward effort, not grades.  If your child put a great deal of effort into an assignment or test and his/her grade is at or below average, always let your child know that you are proud of them for trying so hard and encourage them to keep working hard. 


Helpful Resources


        ADHD Support Company

ADHD Center

Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder

Exceptional Parents Magazine



Taking charge of ADHD:   The Complete, Authoritative Guide for Parents (2000, revised)

By:  Russell A. Barkley


ADHD Parenting Handbook: Practical Advice for Parents from Parents (1994)

By: Colleen Alexander-Roberts


How to Reach and Teach ADD/ADHD Children: Practical Techniques, Strategies and Interventions for Helping Children with Attention Problems and Hyperactivity (1994)

By: Sandra F Rief


Life on the Edge:  Parenting a Child with ADD/ADHD (1998)

By: David Spohn


ADD and the College Student:  A Guide for High School and College Students with Attention Deficit Disorder (2001)

By:  Patricia Quinn


Zipper: The Kid with ADHD (a children's novel) (1997)

By: Caroline Janover and Rick Powel


Shelley:  The Hyperactive Turtle (a children's novel) (2006)

By:  Deborah M. Moss and Carol Schwartz




Dr. Jeremy Jewell