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ADHD in Children Health Center

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Can You Prevent ADHD?

Can structured routine help in preventing ADHD?

All children, and especially those with ADHD, can benefit from structured routines and clear expectations.

Post a daily schedule where your child can see it, so they know what to expect. This daily schedule should include specific times for such activities as:

  • Waking up
  • Eating meals
  • Playing
  • Doing homework
  • Doing chores
  • Watching TV
  • Taking part in after-school activities
  • Going to bed

Once the schedule is set, follow it as closely as possible each day. If there are going to be any disruptions in the schedule, explain them in advance to your child. Though posting a schedule doesn't prevent ADHD, it should help improve your child's ability to stay on task.

For older children, with or without ADHD, having a homework routine in place can make the after-school time more effective. Set aside an area away from distractions for doing homework. Taking small breaks during homework time can also help, especially if your child is hyperactive and has difficulty staying focused.

How does behavior management help in preventing ADHD?

Many therapists believe you can control your child's behavior by using behavior management.

The first step is to foster a positive parent-child relationship. Therapists say this can be done by spending quality time with your child each day -- your child's "special time." During this time, let them pick an activity. Then simply focus on enjoying your child and their interests.

The next step in behavioral management is to use positive reinforcement when your child behaves well. Praise and reward them for it. Your child may behave well more often. Experts encourage parents to notice their child's good behavior at least five times a day and offer simple praise for it.

Keep your expectations reasonable. Base them on what's appropriate for your child's age and focus on only a few tasks at a time. Clearly explain what type of behavior you expect from your child in order to be rewarded. If you think of several appropriate rewards and let your child pick from among them, they may take more ownership in the program. That will make success more likely.

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