If you are the parent of a child with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), you know that you face several parenting challenges. Many children with ADHD struggle with studying. Try these strategies to help your child with ADHD study more effectively.
1. Use the Finger
For younger children with ADHD, encourage your child to show you the problem he is working on by pointing to it with his finger. This concrete action can help focus his mind on the problem at hand and not on other problems or on something else entirely. Similarly, when your child is reading, encourage him to follow the line of text with his finger to help him keep his place. It may help to buy a funny or fancy plastic finger topper for your child to wear when doing homework.
2. Schedule Fidget Breaks
Many children with ADHD have energy in abundance, and sitting for an hour or more of homework will probably not be effective. Every 10 minutes or so, remind your child to take a break for a few minutes. She can do a few cartwheels, turn some somersaults, or do anything else that requires her to move and use up some of that excess energy. Older students may take a 5 minute break to play a Wii fitness game or something else to keep them moving. The key is that the break activity use up energy - not just be a time to do something mindless like a computer game or watching a television show.
3. Explain it to Me
If your child appears to be struggling with a concept, ask him to explain it to you (for instance, ask him to show you how to do that 3-digit multiplication problem). If you simply ask if your child understands a concept, he will probably automatically say "yes" even though he may not. Asking him to play teacher and show you how will help you see if he truly understands what he is to be doing.
4. Study Through the House
Many kids with ADHD learn well visually. Use this to your advantage by making things visually memorable. For instance, try writing a spelling word on a flashcard with colored marker, breaking it into sections and writing each section in a different color (example: in-ves-ti-gate; write each syllable a different color). Then, ask your child to look at the flashcard for several seconds, take it away, and ask him to spell it back to you ask he remembers seeing it. The color adds interest and is an additional memory tool for kids.
Another variation on this is to study in different parts of the house. If you're preparing for a science test, encourage your child to study section 1 in the living room, section 2 in the kitchen, etc. Often your child will associate various concepts with the room they were studied in and this will aid him in remembering things better.
ADHD is no walk in the park! But as you learn strategies, it becomes more manageable and you can enjoy your child for who he or she is.
Susan Braun is a freelance writer living with her husband, three daughters, 2 rabbits, 2 gerbils and hedgehog in Indiana. She writes at girlsinwhitedresses.wordpress.com and Associated Content.