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    ADHD in Children Health Center

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    Tips to Help Your Child With ADHD Behave

    Whether your child with ADHD is young or a teen, you can show them you’re firm but fair (and fun) by doing two key things.

    • Encourage good behavior with praise or rewards immediately.
    • Make consequences for bad behavior clear, understood, and consistent.

    Your approach will depend on your child’s age.

    Preschoolers (Age 5 and Younger)

    Organize the day. Have a routine. Let your child know if it’s changing or if something unusual is going to happen, like a visit from a relative or a vacation.

    Set rules and expectations. It's best to do this right before an activity or situation.

    Use rewards. If your child does something you’re proud of, give him a gold star, or give him time for his favorite hobby. Try not to use money, food, or candy for rewards.

    Engage your child with mind-building activities, such as reading, games, and puzzles. Join in!

    Use a timer. Some parents find this helps build structure. For example, set a reasonable time limit for a bath or playtime. It helps train your child to expect limitations, even on fun things. Give your child a time limit for doing a chore, too, especially if you reward her for finishing on time.

    Children Ages 6-12

    Explain and instruct. Give clear instructions for tasks. If a chore is hard or lengthy, break it down into steps that can be done one at a time.

    Reward your child for good behavior and tasks completed. Have a clear system for incentives (like a point system or gold stars) so your child knows what to expect when they finish a chore or behave better. Be consistent with your expectations, and always follow through with rewards.

    Make a plan for discipline. Set up a specific consequence for a certain misbehavior. Be consistent and fair about enforcing it. Try not to discipline your child in front of others.

    Talk regularly with your child's teachers, so you can deal with any behavior concerns before they become a major problem.

    Walk your talk. Set a good example for your child. Children with ADHD need role models for good behavior.

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