Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts an estimated 6.1 million children in the United States(more info). ADHD affects people of all ages and often leads to difficulty controlling impulses, paying attention, and managing emotions. The cause of ADHD is not yet known, but certain genetic and environmental factors may increase the risk of developing this condition. While there are many effective treatments for ADHD, including medication, therapy, education or training for parents and teachers, and changes in diet or exercise habits; these approaches do not work for everyone. Fortunately, there are several ways to help improve attention in an ADHD child.
Create a focused environment.
- Create a calm, quiet environment. The more distractions there are in your child’s environment, the harder it will be for him to focus on any one thing. Reduce television and video game time as much as possible — if you do allow some screen time, limit it to one hour per day. Also limit interactions with siblings and pets; if you’re doing anything else at home other than focusing on what your ADHD child needs, she’ll lose her focus again and again.
- Set firm limits on interactions with friends, parents, teachers and other adults who may interrupt the task at hand; encourage them to call or text instead of coming over or calling during class or homework time.
Take frequent breaks.
- Take frequent breaks.
- Break at the right time.
- Break in the right place.
- Break frequently, but not too often (that is, take a break once every hour).
- Breaks should last no more than 15 minutes and no less than 5 minutes.
Establish a routine.
Establishing a routine is important to help your ADHD child stay focused. The routine should be consistent, predictable and in a quiet place free of distractions with short, simple tasks that are fun or engaging.
As much as possible, avoid making changes to the routine unexpectedly or frequently (i.e., last-minute schedule changes).
Use a timer and activity chart.
- Set a timer for up to 10 minutes, and have the child focus on one activity.
- Use a chart to track progress, and use it as a reward system when your child reaches his or her goal.
- The more activities you can fit into that time frame, the better! You can even keep track of how many times they were able to sit still during that period of time.
Give assertive commands.
- Use assertive commands. When you ask your child to do something, do it in a calm and firm voice.
- Use the child’s name, if possible, to gain his or her attention.
- Be specific and clear about what you want your child to do; don’t give them too many instructions at once (keep them simple). For example: “I need you to get ready for bed right now.”
- Use the same words every time (for example: “Please stop that” versus “No”). This consistency helps kids learn what they can expect from their parents’ requests rather than having different expectations each time they hear an instruction. If a parent is going into new territory with their child’s behavior expectations—for example trying a new type of medication—they might want to go slowly at first so as not overwhelm him or her with changes all at once.
Provide regular positive reinforcement.
Children with ADHD have difficulty regulating their behavior and may act out. This can lead to problems in school, at home, and in social settings. The following tips can help improve attention for children with ADHD:
- Provide regular positive reinforcement. Children need regular encouragement to do well in school and at home, especially when they are doing something difficult or new. If your child has a hard time sitting still, encourage him with words like “good job” when he’s able to sit quietly for a few moments without getting up from his seat during class time. Also praise him when you notice that he’s doing chores around the house without being asked or reminding him about them first (e.g., “I appreciate how quickly you swept up all of those Legos”). You could also use praise charts that allow your child to earn stars on them each day by completing tasks such as cleaning his room or helping out around the house so that he gets rewarded once he reaches certain milestones within each category on it (e.g., 10 stars equals 15 minutes of screen time). These charts also show progress over time since they’re updated daily rather than monthly or quarterly like many other methods used today which only provide information about how well someone did overall throughout an entire month/quarter; this makes monitoring progress easier because there aren’t any gaps between sessions during which nothing was done but it still gives enough space between activities so one doesn’t become overwhelmed due to having too much going on at once.”
- At some of point of time you may feel that your child is speaking less in comparison to other children. In this case you may take the help of a speech language pathologist who can guide you through the speech difficulty your child is facing. Online speech therapy is also a good option for you if you are a busy parent.
Utilize child’s interests.
One of the best ways to improve attention in your child is to utilize their interests.
For example, if your child has an interest in dinosaurs, you could use this as a way to engage them in tasks such as cleaning up or completing homework assignments.
Your child will be more likely to follow through with these tasks because they are being asked to do something fun instead of being forced into doing something that does not interest them.
By using this technique, you’ll find that your child’s attention span improves significantly and may even be able to complete tasks without any assistance from adults.
Work on attention building activities, i.e., “I Spy”.
There are many ways to improve attention in ADHD child. One of the most effective methods is to play I Spy, a game where one person chooses an object and the other person has to guess it. It’s a great way to build attention because both parties have to pay close attention, in order for them not miss a clue.
I Spy can be played with all kinds of objects: toys or books, people or plants and so on. The amount of participants doesn’t matter: you can play alone or with your friends!
There are several methods to help improve attention in an ADHD child
There are several methods to help improve attention in an ADHD child. The first is to create a focused environment, taking frequent breaks and establishing routines that include specific activities at certain times of day. Another method is to use a timer and activity chart, giving assertive commands, providing regular positive reinforcement and using the child’s interests as motivators.
The most important method in increasing focus is working on attention building activities such as “I spy,” which encourages visual scanning of items while completing tasks like matching game cards or finding objects based on clues given by another individual (e.g., parent).
The key to remember is ADHD isn’t something to be ashamed of. While it can be frustrating for both parent and child, there are ways the two of you can work together to help your child learn focus skills that will last a lifetime.