For many of us, it’s difficult to sit through a multi-hour lecture without fidgeting or losing focus. But for children who deal with ADHD, this task becomes even more challenging than it is for most.
ADHD is characterized by hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity. A common misconception about ADHD is that children who have it cannot pay attention. The reality is that they simply have difficulty controlling their attention, which makes other stimuli (outside noise, other kids, and flashing lights) very distracting. In a classroom setting, this becomes especially apparent.
How do you help your child stay focused at school? We’ve put together a few tips:
Work With Their Teachers
When your child is first diagnosed with ADHD, it’s important to let the school know. This way, teachers can start altering the classroom so that it’s easier for your kid to focus. If the school is aware of their condition, they can implement measures to help them succeed, like additional time to write tests and private rooms to complete their work. They can move your child’s seat in the classroom so that it’s farther away from windows or doors, which can be distracting. If your child deals with any disruptive behavior problems, inform their teachers so that they’re prepared to diffuse any situations that may arise.
Ask Your Child About What They Struggle With
Are there specific triggers that cause problems for your kid? Ask your child about the main distractions that make it harder for them to focus at school. Then, you can address each concern. If other kids are loud when they write tests, consider sending them to school with earplugs.
This can be a helpful way to teach your child to be aware of what distracts them. Once they feel themselves slipping away, they can catch it and try to refocus.
Use Fidget Toys
Many children with ADHD feel the need to squirm in their seats during long days of class. For some, it can be helpful to keep toys, like fidget spinners, handy. This helps them reach the levels of stimulus they need to stay focused. Rather than wiggling in their chairs or kicking their feet, they can move the toy in their hand for something to do.
Take A Break
Sometimes, your child might feel too overloaded to do their homework. Everyone needs a break sometimes to get their minds grounded. To refresh their concentration, try to practice mindfulness and meditation with them.
Set aside 5-10 minutes each day to meditate with your child. Find a quiet room and grab a comfortable pillow to sit on. Then, spend time noticing your breath. Let thoughts pass by as you stay rooted in the present moment.
After your child spends a few minutes of deep breathing and centering themselves, they may find it easier to return to their work with a renewed focus. The next time your child takes a test, they can use this strategy to prepare themselves to concentrate.
It’s not easy being different. Your child may feel alienated from their peers due to their diagnosis. Even though aids in the classroom can help them (like privacy barriers or writing tests in different rooms), these measures can also isolate your child from their classmates.
You want your child to be themselves without feeling ashamed of who they are. It may be helpful to arrange a meeting with a counselor or therapist. This allows your child to talk about their experiences in a safe, judgment-free environment. A therapist can offer solutions to the particular difficulties that your child faces in the classroom and when doing homework.
Talk To Their Doctor About Medication
This disorder can make it difficult for children to perform their best in an academic setting. For some, ADHD medications can be helpful. Stimulants can help your child ignore distracting thoughts and focus on the tasks at hand.
This is a conversation to have with your child’s healthcare provider. It may take several weeks to determine the proper type and dosage for your child. While medication isn’t for everyone, it’s a tremendous help to many people with ADHD as it provides relief for their symptoms.
There’s no quick fix for ADHD, but there are tips that can help your child stay focused. It’s common for children of all ages to have trouble paying attention at school. But for those with ADHD, it’s even more difficult. These strategies can help your child redirect their attention and concentrate on their work in a school setting.
Veronica Wallace is a childhood educator and blogging enthusiast. Some of her favorite articles can be found on the KIDTHINK website. KIDTHINK employs leading adolescent and child psychologists that specializes in offering clinical treatment of mental illness in children aged twelve and under.