Phase 2:

Self-Management

Overview of Phase 2

If your child has not been diagnosed with ADHD, please feel free to skip ahead to Phase 3: Self-Management.

Jump to "Phase 3: Self-Management"

After completing "Phase 1: Understanding Child Behavior and Parenting Practices," we now move to "Phase 2: ADHD Behavior Management".

This phase has 9 topics:

Skills to Manage ADHD
A child carrying books labelled 'Skills for ADHD'

Review tips on how you and your child’s teacher(s) can work together with your child to best promote his/her success in school and at home.

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Tips to Share with Your Child
A lightbulb

Look over some tips for ways to better manage your child's difficult behaviors.

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Getting Ready in the Morning
A child getting ready

Review tips to help your child stay organized and on-schedule each morning.

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Ways to Move at School
A child playing basketball

Work with your child to find ways they can move at school without disrupting class.

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Tips to Focus at School
A child raising his hand to answer a question

Work with your child to find ways they can improve their focus at school.

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Tips to Focus on Homework
A homework binder with an A+ grade

Work with your child to find ways they can improve their focus while doing homework.

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Staying Organized
A set of organized school supplies

Staying organized can prevent forgetting important items and appointments. Review tips to stay organized here.

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How Teachers can Help Me
A teacher helping a child

This form can be completed and shared directly with your teacher(s). This is a great way to help your teacher understand ways that he/she can help you during the school day in different situations.

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Attention Problem Solver
A happy child

When we know what situations cause us to have the most difficulty paying attention or following directions, we can plan ahead so we will know how to deal with it.

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Skills to Manage ADHD

It is very important that parents and teachers of children with ADHD use communication that meet the unique needs of these children. Next, we will review a few tips on how to best communicate with your child both at school, and at home.

Tips for Parents and Teachers

Provide Structure

Structure provides children boundaries, while also allowing them to know what to expect. Without structure, children tend to be unproductive and have more difficulty with unexpected transitions. Structure can be implemented through providing rules as well as a schedule. Also, prepare children for unstructured time. This may mean presenting them with options of activities to choose from.

Post Rules

Having rules posted serves as a reminder for children about their expectations. When creating rules for your home, invite children to take part. This allows them some control in the situation as well as a feeling of responsibility to the rules created.

Have a Predictable Schedule

Making a schedule as predictable as possible will aid the child in getting into a routine, knowing what to expect and being better prepared. If there is going to be a change in the routine, make the child aware of this change ahead of time and provide frequent reminders.

This includes having a set time for homework each day. By having a set schedule, it also limits any negotiations children may attempt to put tasks off until later. Post the schedule where the child can easily see it.

Simplify Instructions

Try to make instructions as simple and concise as possible. If they are too long, children will become confused and unfocused as well as forgetful as to what they are told. Making directions as simple as possible ensures that children will be more likely to remember what they were told, as well as following through with the instructions.

Repeat Directions Frequently

Children with ADHD are often forgetful. Providing a reminder ensures that children will be more likely to follow through with the directions they were given. They can be given to children verbally, as well as writing them down. Ask children to repeat the directions back to you to ensure they heard and understood what is being asked of them.

Make Eye Contact

Chances are that if a child is not looking at you, they are not listening to you. Do not yell directions to your child from another room! Use their name, make eye contact and reduce any other distractions before providing directions.

Encourage Them

Provide praise as often as possible. Rewards may also be given as incentives and as part of a behavior plan.

Try Not to Single Children Out

Children with ADHD may engage in disruptive behaviors at times due to their hyperactivity or impulsivity. Instead of drawing others’ attention to the child and causing possible embarrassment or increased frustration on the part of the child, try providing nonverbal warnings or cues.

Communicate

Parents and teachers should communicate frequently. Keep a notebook that can transfer between home and school so that parents and teachers can communicate about goals, behaviors, or upcoming projects.

Workspace

Make sure that the child’s desk is as neat as possible. Have only the books and tools that are necessary for each assignment on the desk at one time. Clutter = distraction.

Classroom Seating

Provide the child with seating that is best for the child. If the child is inattentive and easily distracted, sitting in the front of the classroom reduces the amount of distractions viewable distractions as well as putting the child in close proximity of the teacher. Should the child engage in more hyperactive behavior, sitting in the rear of the classroom may allow them to get up and take movement breaks as permitted by the teacher. Also, try to place the child’s seat away from a door leading to the hallway or near a window. This will reduce distraction. Special seating may be provided for test taking times.

At Home

Provide the child with an area to complete their schoolwork. Make this area as quiet as possible so there are no distractions (TV, siblings, windows, etc.). Quiet music or even a fan may be helpful in providing background noise to drown out any distracting sounds.

Goals

Break down large tasks into small tasks so they appear more manageable and not overwhelming. Have a plan and set a timeline. Check them off as you go.

Breaks

Children with ADHD have difficulty focusing for long periods of time, especially on subjects that they are not greatly interested in. They also may need frequent movement breaks if they experience hyperactivity. Whether in the classroom or at home doing homework, breaks provide children time to release stress and reset. Provide breaks often and frequently to allow children to be more productive over a shorter period of time. In the classroom, develop a plan for how the child can signal the teacher if they need a movement break.

Learning Skills

Teach children tricks to help with their memory such as mnemonic devices, rhymes, flash cards, etc. Also use studying skills like underlining and outlining while reading and taking notes.

Organization

Organization leads children to be more productive. Here are several options: color-code binders, have folders for homework that needs to be done and has been completed, make checklists, post schedules, etc. Also instruct the child to keep their belongings in the same place. When they are done using something, instruct them to put it back, so that it will be easily found the next time they need to use it.

Homework Buddy

Allow your child to pick a member of their class who is responsible and willing to help. This way, if your child forgets an assignment, or needs help following directions, they may call their homework buddy for assistance.

Use Timers to Help the Child Self-Monitor

This will aid in allowing a child to see how much time they have to complete a task, like getting ready in the morning, eating their dinner, or completing their homework. Timers can also be used to allow children to work on a task for an allotted amount of time, and then take a break.

Plan Ahead

Prepare for upcoming tasks and activities. If you have trouble getting ready in the morning, put your clothes out the night before. If you are forgetful in remembering things before you go to school, post reminders to yourself or pack your book bag the night before.

Place Responsibility on Children

You may always help and support your child but do so in a way that allows them to be responsible for being prepared and getting tasks done. This not only teaches them independence and a sense of accountability but may also teach them to be proud of their accomplishments.

Ask the Child What Would Help

Often, children know how they learn best and may come up with creative ideas on how to tackle a problem.

Tips to Share with Your Child

You probably already know that your family and/or your teacher has some concerns about the way you are acting. The things you do or say can affect the people you care about and keep you from doing your best at home and at school. We would like to help you work on things like paying attention, following directions, and stopping yourself, so that you can do your best. First, let’s think about some examples of when you are having difficulties and what that looks like.

  1. When do you have problems paying attention? Where does that happen
  2. What happens when you have these problems paying attention?
  3. When do you have trouble stopping yourself? Where does that happen?
  4. What happens when you have trouble stopping yourself?

Now that you have some specific ideas of what behaviors are causing difficulty, let’s look over some tips for ways to better manage those behaviors. While it can be helpful to read over all of these, be sure to focus in on the 2 or 3 that are most related to areas in which you need to improve.

Getting Ready in the Morning

Get Your Book Bag Ready the Night Before

Have your books and your homework packed the night before. This will keep you organized and will help you save time.

Set Your Clothes Out at Night

This will save time in getting ready, because you won’t have to search for your clothes or spend time deciding what to wear.

Use a Loud Alarm Clock

Put it far away from your bed so that you have to get up to turn it off. That way you won’t go back to sleep.

Take Your Medicine as Soon as You Wake Up

You can take your medicine as soon as you wake up, or about fifteen minutes before you really need to start getting ready. This may give you some extra help in staying on track and concentrating on what needs to get done.

Use a Timer

A timer can help you stay on track and will show you how much time you have left before you have to leave.

Keep a Checklist

If it is hard for you to remember what you need to get done, try keeping a list in your room where you can check what you still need to get done in the morning before you are ready.

Ways to Move at School

Move So No One Notices

You can tap your fingers together or twirl your thumbs under your desk so you don’t make noise. Your teacher may even let you hold a stress ball or something else that doesn’t make noise. Try stretching occasionally.

Volunteer

You can always volunteer to help pass out papers, collect books or take something to the office. This will help you get out of your seat so you can move around.

Take a Break

Let your teacher know that you have ADHD and need to move around more than some other kids. Your parents can help you with this. Make a plan with your teacher that when you need to move, you will show her a sign so that you may get up and walk to the water fountain or move around the room.

Outside of Class

Make sure that you move around a lot when you are allowed to. Do this during lunch, recess and gym. You can also play sports or play with friends after school to burn off some energy.

Tips to Focus at School

Find a Good Seat

It helps to sit in the front of the room, away from windows or the hallway. This way, kids won’t be sitting in front of you to distract you and you won’t hear noises or see things outside that will be distracting. Make sure you can see the teacher well. If you are at home, find a place to do your work that is also away from distractions. Do your work in this same place every day so it becomes a routine.

Pay Attention and Participate

If you stay involved in what your teacher and other kids in the class are saying and participate, then you will be less likely to get distracted by something else. Raise your hand and make comments or ask questions.

Stop Distracting Noises

Ask to sit in a quiet area of the classroom; again, away from a window or a door leading to the hallway. If you are at home, make sure there isn’t a TV on or anyone else around you talking. Sometimes a steady noise, like soft music or a fan blowing can be helpful in drowning out any distracting noises.

Keep a Clean Desk

Keep things off of the top of your desk so that you can concentrate only on the paper or project you are working on. Clutter can be distracting.

Work on One Problem at a Time

If too many questions on a paper distract you or overwhelms you, you can use two pieces of paper to cover up everything on the page except the question you are working on. Move the papers along as you finish each problem.

Break Things Up

Break up your assignments to help you stay on track. You can try setting a timer and working for 15 minutes then taking a 5-minute break before you go back to work again. You can also try breaking up your work into chunks, like checking in with your teacher after you have finished half of the problems on your sheet. Then you can do the rest.

Tips to Focus on Homework

Make a Homework Spot

Make a space in your house that is yours to do your homework everyday. This spot should be only where you do your homework and shouldn’t be a place where you play or do other things. This helps you stay focused and puts you in the right state of mind to do your work.

Reduce Distractions

Make sure you are sitting somewhere that you won’t hear noises or see things outside that will be distracting (away from a window or a room where someone is playing or watching TV). Make sure this area is somewhere that you can focus.

  • If bright lights bother you, use a soft table lamp.
  • If bright colors or objects distract you, make sure you are not facing a wall with lots of pictures or that there are not a lot of toys in the room.
  • Sometimes a steady noise, like soft music or a fan blowing can be helpful in drowning out any distracting noises.

Break Things Up

Break up your assignments to help you stay on track. You can try setting a timer and working for 15 minutes then taking a 5 minute break before you go back to work again. You can also try breaking up your work into chunks, like checking in with your parent after you have finished half of the problems on your sheet. Then you can do the rest.

Keep a Clean Desk

Keep things off of the top of your desk so that you can concentrate only on the paper or project you are working on. Clutter can be distracting.

Keep a Homework Planner

Always write down your assignments in your planner at the end of each class and look over it at the end of the day. Make sure that you put each book you will need for each assignment in your book bag to take home with you. Check each piece of homework off as you complete it. Keep your homework only in your homework folder for each class so you do not lose it.

Use Binders

Using a binder is a good way to stay organized. You can keep folders and separators in a binder in order to keep each class separate.

You can also keep a homework folder in each section with 2 sides: one is To Do and the other is Completed. Keep your homework planner in the binder as well as other things you might need, like a zippered pouch with pens, a calculator or a pencil sharpener.

Staying Organized

Keep Your Desk, Book Bag, and Locker Clean

When you keep these areas clean you will always be able to find what you need. Don’t keep things in your book bag or your desk that you do not need. This will only add to the clutter and make it easier to lose the things you do need.

Get Your Things Ready the Night Before

Put everything in the correct place the night before. This means putting your homework that is due in the homework folder for each class. Put everything in your bag and have it ready and by the door for the next day.

Keep a Homework Planner

Always write down your assignments in your planner at the end of each class and look over it at the end of the day. Make sure that you put each book you will need for each assignment in your book bag to take home with you. Check each piece of homework off as you complete it. Keep your homework only in your homework folder for each class so you do not lose it.

Use Binders

Using a binder is a good way to stay organized. You can keep folders and separators in a binder in order to keep each class separate.

You can also keep a homework folder in each section with 2 sides: one is To Do and the other is Completed. Keep your homework planner in the binder as well as other things you might need, like a zippered pouch with pens, a calculator or a pencil sharpener.

Keep Your Room Clean

You also don’t want to lose things at home. By keeping your room clean you are making sure that you don’t lose toys and books you like. Keep your room neat and organized. Keep a place in your room for each of your belongings. Keep books in one area, toys in another and so on. And always pick up after yourself when you are done doing something.

How Teachers Can Help

Complete Handout: How Teachers Can Help Me

Problem Solving

Think about about one thing you want to work on at home. You can pick any behavior from last week that you want to work on in the future. Maybe you forgot to do a homework assignment, or didn’t clean up your room when your asked to. Next, let’s plan out how you can do a better job next time.

Complete Handout: Attention Problem Solver

End of Phase 2

Congratulations! You have completed Phase 2 of this manual. Great work!