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ADHD in Children Health Center

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Minimize School Morning Mayhem for ADHD Children

Experts share tips for getting your ADHD child ready for school each morning -- with a minimum of stress.

Step 3: Create a Point or Reward System

ADHD children may need a little extra support because they get easily distracted and don't jump out of bed right away. "There needs to be a set amount of prompts or reminders for each step in order for your child to get a reward," Corrin tells WebMD.

If they miss the mark, simply say, "'you didn't get your point for getting out of bed, but you can still get your point for washing up,'" she says. "Give your child a point for each step they correctly meet. Tie the points to something the child is interested in." For example, some points can be redeemed for TV time, while others can be used for computer time.

"Reward-based incentives tend to be the most effective, and a point system which sets up the value or expectation for each step is very concrete," Corrin says. The consequences and rewards should be as immediate as possible and should change as the ADHD child ages.

"This system puts the appropriate level of responsibility on the ADHD child," she says. "The child does tend to wake up to the process and realize that they feel the consequences themselves."

Another advantage is that it also cuts back on some of the disruptive yelling and screaming as the onus now falls on the child, not the parent. "Parents feel less frustrated with the new structure because they don't have to panic that they alone must make this happen," Corrin says.

Step 4: Remain Calm, Cool, and Collected

When things are not going smoothly, Corrin says, "Use a steady calm voice and say, 'You know your direction and this has to be done and it's on you. Bye.'" If all else fails, "the best thing to do is walk away and disengage from the battle and say, 'We will be late today.'"

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