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Back To School Update: Motivating Your ADHD Child

Our last post in Brain Balance's "Back To School Update" series discussed setting hard and fast rules to help your ADHD child stay focused on their academic and social goals. In this post, we discuss motivating your child to follow those rules and guidelines. How do you encourage a child with ADHD who avoids homework and chores to complete those tasks with minimal arguing or stress? Dr. Robert Melillo, creator and co-founder of the Brain Balance Program®, suggests the following tips in his book Reconnected Kids to motivate your child to stick to the family rules, reduce their anxiety, and accomplish their goals:

Tip 1: An adult should always be present to oversee homework time, particularly if the child has ADHD. Children should complete homework as soon as they get home from school. (If both parents work outside the home, it may be beneficial to push homework time to after dinner.) Offer children a healthy snack, and then have them change into "homework clothes". Just as pajamas indicate to a child that it is time for sleep and play clothes indicate that it's OK for a child to get dirty, homework clothes can help children transition to homework mode so they will complete their work more efficiently and earn free time.

Tip 2: For some children, the more screen time they get, the more they want. As summer comes to an end, begin to limit screen time so children can adjust to their new limit before school begins. A good rule of thumb is to decrease screen time fifteen minutes each day until they are at their new limit of 1.5 hours a day during the week and 2 hours a day on weekends. Any extra screen time must be earned. Starting this process before school begins gives kids time to adjust to the new rule. This tactic can be applied to any new "house rule" that requires a change to a child's current routine.

Tip 3: Just as an adult will often receive a pat on the back, promotion, or a raise for a job well done at work, children with ADHD who accomplish their goals should expect to earn privileges. Whether it be extra weekend screen time, a night out with friends, or a family dinner at their favorite restaurant, children want to know that we recognize their hard work and accomplishments. When possible, make the reward a family affair to let ADHD children know that the whole family is proud of them and invested in their success!

Want more tips for encouraging your ADHD child to follow the rules and accomplish their goals? Pick up a copy of Dr. Melillo's Reconnected Kids today! Join the conversation by sharing this article with friends or by posting a comment below on how you get your ADHD child to stick to your family's rules. Want to know more about how the Brain Balance Program® can help your child succeed? Contact us today!

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