8 Discipline Strategies for Kids with ADHD

These discipline strategies manage the symptoms and reduce behavior problems.

If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, he may require a slightly different approach to discipline. With a few changes and extra support, you can give him the tools he needs to manage his behavior.

It's common for kids with ADHD to have trouble sitting still, completing tasks, managing impulsivity, and following directions. These strategies however, can improve your child's behavior and give him the tools he needs to succeed.

Provide Plenty of Positive Attention

Give a child wit ADHD extra positive attention.
Cavan Images/Stone/Getty Images

Parenting a child with ADHD can be exhausting sometimes. They just never seem to run out of energy and sometimes, they just can't stop talking.

Consequently, it can be difficult for parents to find the time and energy to play with a hyperactive child. However, providing a child with ADHD extra positive attention is a good investment.Positive play time reduces a lot of attention-seeking behavior.

Set aside time each day, no matter how difficult your child’s behavior has been, to participate in an activity with your child. Providing positive attention is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to reduce behavior problems.

More »

Give Effective Instructions

Kids with short attention spans need extra help following directions. Ensure that you have your child’s full attention before giving directions. Turn off the television, establish eye contact and place a hand on your child’s shoulder before saying, “Please clean your room.”

Give one instruction at a time. Giving a chain command such as, “Put on your socks, clean your room and then take out the trash,” will likely get lost in translation. A child with ADHD is likely to put on his socks and then on the way to his room he’ll find something else to do rather than clean it.

More »

Praise Your Child's Effort

Catch your child being good and point it out. When you praise your child, he'll be more likely to repeat that good behavior again.

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 kids for following directions, playing quietly and sitting still.

More »

Use Time-Out When Necessary

Time-out can be a good way to help kids with ADHD calm their bodies and their brains. Time-out doesn’t need to be a punishment. Instead, it can be a great life skill that can be useful in many situations.

Teach your child to go to a quiet spot to calm down when he's overstimulated or frustrated. Then, he can place himself in time-out before he gets into trouble. 

More »

Ignore Mild Misbehaviors

Sometimes kids with ADHD exhibit a lot of attention-seeking behaviors. Paying attention to these behaviors sometimes reinforces them and causes them to continue.

Ignoring mild misbehaviors teaches him that obnoxious behavior won't get him his desired result. Ignore whining, complaining, loud noises and attempts to interrupt you.

More »

Establish a Reward System

Reward systems can be a great way to help kids with ADHD stay on track. Establish a few behaviors to target, such as staying at the table during a meal or using gentle touches with a pet.

Younger kids may not be able to wait until the end of the day or the end of the week to earn a reward. Instead, they may benefit more from a token economy system where they earn points or tokens throughout the day for positive behaviors.

More »

Allow for Natural Consequences

When disciplining a child with ADHD it is important to pick your battles. You don’t want your child to feel as though he can’t do anything right or that he is constantly getting into trouble. Allowing some behaviors to slide can help you keep your sanity as well.

Sometimes allowing for natural consequences makes more sense rather than trying to convince a child to make a better choice. For example, if your child insists he doesn’t need to take a break from playing to eat lunch, consider allowing him to skip lunch.

The natural consequence is that he will likely be hungry later and he'll have to wait until dinner. Eventually, he'll learn to eat lunch on time.

More »

Work With Your Child's Teacher

When parents work together with a child's teacher, it increases the chances that a child will be successful in school. Some children need modifications to their school work or to the classroom. Modifications such as being allowed extra time to complete tests or completing written work in a smaller, quiet environment can be very beneficial.

Behavior modifications may be necessary as well. For example, sometimes schools have children stay in for recess when they have not completed their homework. However, children with ADHD often need recess in order to manage their behaviors better.

A behavior management plan that carries between home and school can be helpful. A child may receive points or tokens from his teacher that can be exchanged for privileges at home such as watching TV or using a computer.

More »

Continue Reading