8 Tips for Using Structure and Routine for a Child with ADHD

All children need a routine that is predictable. They need structure to help them go through each day. These needs are increased when the child has Attention Deficit Learning Disorder (ADHD). Without having routines and structure, the child is more likely to act out and get into trouble. These tips can help to address some of the most common issues that children with ADHD face without schedules or structure.

Set a Clear Schedule

Once your child is old enough to understand what a schedule is, you should be prepared to set a schedule and stick to it. Of course, one schedule won’t work for each day of the week. You will need a schedule for school days and one for other days. By knowing what is coming, the child can better prepare for the change in activities so that the stress of switching gears isn’t coming as a shock.

Give Ample Warning When a Schedule Changes

There are days when the schedule isn’t going to go like it normally does. Doctor appointments and other engagements can alter things. Your child should have ample time to process the change in the schedule. For example, let your child know a few days before an appointment that an appointment is coming up. Remind the child the day before. Let the child know how the schedule will change.

Set Age-Appropriate Rules

Part of giving a child who has ADHD structure is setting clear rules. These rules should be appropriate based on the child’s age and understanding. For example, a kindergartner should be able to understand that running in the house isn’t allowed. As you set rules, stick to them. A child who is coping with ADHD might not be able to handle the stress of rules that randomly change.

Work with the Child to Come Up with Expectations

Children need to be challenged. When a child has ADHD, coming up with ways to appropriately challenge the child can be difficult because the child can easily get carried away. Sitting down with your child to set challenges and come up with expectations about what is going to happen can help the child to feel more at ease, which will decrease the chance that the child is going to act out.

Mark Clear Boundaries for Play

One challenge for many children, even those to who don’t suffer from ADHD, is dealing with a space that changes functions. Marking clear boundaries for play, such as creating a playroom, can make it easier for the child to remember what a space is for. This comes together with the rules and expectation tips because you will have to relay to the child what a space is for. Keeping toys neatly organized can help the child to feel more in control of the space and make it easier to find favorite toys. Have the child clean the toys up when appropriate so that a sense of responsibility is fostered.

Create Set Work Spaces

Doing homework is usually on the top of the list of things parents and teachers dread. Setting a workspace for the child that is conducive to learning can work wonders here. Give the child a desk or another dedicated work area for homework and school projects. The area should be quiet and free of distractions. If the work area is near the television or a similar source of distraction, turn off those distractions while the child works.

Monitor the Child During Important Tasks

The most important tasks of the day, such as homework and chores, should be monitored. The adult who is monitoring the child shouldn’t let other things distract them. This means putting away the phone, computer, or other distractions and focusing the child. This can be a wonderful time to help the child realize one’s potential and spend time building a relationship with our children.

Be Willing to Adapt

Any adult who works with children who have ADHD should be willing to adapt to issues as they come up. If a child is doing homework and needs to have some wiggle time, allowing it can prevent a lot of fussing and arguing the might occur if the child is forced to sit still and do homework. Think carefully about options that are available for handling issues as they arise. Choose the one that will put the child at ease without creating a huge ordeal in the process.

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