As a parent, you will face many challenges with raising your kids. If you are helping your child with ADHD, you already know that there are additional challenges you will face.
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There will be times they resist what you ask them to do, there may be times they are defiant, or test your boundaries, and there are times when kids just need to learn things for themselves (often the hard way).
Daily routines such as school work or bedtime can be real battles. When it comes to things like household chores or cleaning, you may feel like your child is battling you on purpose by refusing to do them or to do them correctly.
The difference is that children with ADHD are not trying to be rude or defiant when they struggle with things or have symptoms of their ADHD. (Symptoms of ADHD include inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.) Your child will need to learn to overcome and adapt to his symptoms so he can function in the world around him.
One of the most important things you can ever learn is this: Your child is not intentionally ignoring you, being defiant, or disobeying you. In addition, your child is not lazy or stupid.
ADHD is a medical diagnosis, not a character flaw.
To understand why ADHD children struggle with household chores requires an understanding of ADHD and how the brain of someone with it works. Your child may have trouble with tasks that take a lot of mental effort, can struggle to remember multiple rules or instructions told at once, and can have trouble concentrating or staying still in one place.
These, along with many other symptoms of ADHD, can make it very difficult to complete certain tasks, such as household chores. It’s not that they don’t want to do it. It’s that their condition is getting in the way. You need to be intentional about helping your child with ADHD do household chores or other tasks.
So what can you do to be helping your child with ADHD?
Here are some suggestions to give your child the best chance of completing household chores and other tasks, even with the challenges of ADHD.
Be a great role model.
One of the best things you can ever do is be a good role model for your child with ADHD by doing the household chores yourself.
Help your child learn tricks or tips to make cleaning and chores easier. Take time to do them together when you can, or to try to make it fun. Never say bad or negative things about chores in front of your child.
Set few rules, but stick to them.
You want to keep the family rules to a minimum but also be consistent with them. Too many rules will be difficult for a child with ADHD to adhere to, so keep them basic, easy to understand, and with clear enforcement of what happens when breaking them. Then, stick to it.
Establish daily routines.
Routines are super important to children with ADHD. The more routines you have, the more structure there is in the day. Your child will know what is coming and what is expected of her. This makes it easier to remember. Household chores that are made into part of the daily routine will become like second-nature to your child.
Have family meetings.
Family meetings are a place to sit and talk about expectations, what’s working and what isn’t, and any other issues any members of the family might have. This is a chance for your family members to air any grievances as well.
Work together to solve problems.
If something isn’t working, try to find out why and work together on a solution. If your child is struggling to do a certain chore, or regularly forgetting to do it, try to determine the reason for this and find a solution together.
Allow your child to fidget.
When you’re giving instructions, you can let your child fidget. If you’re not sure if he was listening, you can just ask follow-up questions to be sure he understands. It’s not hurting anything and it can help your child concentrate on what you’re saying.
Reward your child for good behavior.
Positive reinforcement is very helpful for children with ADHD. They will often feel like they are messing up or “doing everything wrong” and it can be a big motivator to praise them for a job well done.
These are just a few tips to get you started with helping your child with ADHD do household chores. Continue to look for ways to communicate with your child and work together to teach him these skills. He will take them with him for the rest of his life.
Marcy Crabtree is a Christian homeschooling mom to one teen son. An encourager at heart, she is passionate about cultivating relationships with other moms and spends much of her time doing so both on her blog, Ben and Me , and in social media.