Yesterday we looked at some surprising myths and misinformation on ADD and ADHD as well as signs to watch for in your own kids. You can read that post, What Every Parent Should Know About ADD & Dyslexia by clicking here. Today we’re taking a look at tips for teaching kids with ADD or ADHD.
Kids with ADD and ADHD thrive in the homeschool environment because of the flexibility and freedom to individualize their schedules, curricula and teaching methods.
Here are 10 of our most effective tips for teaching a child with ADD or ADHD:
1. Avoid busy work. Keep instruction meaningful and you will keep their attention. Don’t be afraid to modify your lesson plans, customizing them for your child’s unique needs.
2. Use multi-sensory methods – let them move! Get stretchy toys or stress balls for kids to play with when they are feeling fidgety but need to sit still. Consider having kids sit on an oversized exercise ball instead of a chair. Let them act out their vocabulary words.
3. Take frequent breaks. This goes along with number two; taking a ‘brain break’ when they are feeling sluggish will refresh and re-energize them.
4. Consider using a reward system. This is especially helpful for establishing good habits with younger kids. Keep a chart with stickers and set up clear boundaries for what is expected and what the reward will be.
5. Diet. Limit simple carbs, drink a lot of water, get regular exercise. Dietary measures may not be a ‘cure’ for attention issues but they absolutely help!
6. Have them repeat instructions back to you to help with memory. Also, don’t give too many instructions at once. Teach older kids to write lists or speak their lists into a recording device to replay later.
7. Start the school day with activities that require the most mental energy. Get them over the hump early. Our kids that don’t like math, do it first thing in the morning while I am nearby for accountability. It is an amazingly freeing experience to check it off of their lists first thing every day.
8. Experiment with the use of a timer – 30 minutes and then a break or difficult subjects are only worked on for a set period of time. Try a sand timer if the clicking noise is distracting.
9. Maintain a regular routine. Knowing what to expect and when to expect it eliminates the frustration often experienced by switching activities.
10. Keep work spaces clutter free. Consider playing soft, instrumental music in the background to keep other background noises from becoming distracting.
Above all, educate yourself and your child on what ADD & ADHD are and what that means for them. Help them to understand their strengths and weaknesses.