Kids like to feel productive and that they are being helpful. Most kids really want to follow directions and be seen as a “good” kid.
But sadly, too often kids with ADHD feel quite the opposite – like they can never do anything right, and that they are always causing trouble. They feel “bad.” Not only are the adults re-directing them all the time, but other kids can find them annoying, too. They don’t mean to cause trouble. But that energizer bunny inside of them is running on a non-stop battery, and sometimes they just can’t help themselves.
One way to help channel your child’s energy – productively — is to keep them engaged and give them jobs.
In school, the best “errand” runner in the room is the kid with ADHD who is trying to pay attention but having a really hard time sitting in her seat. Ask teachers to let your child pass out the papers before an assignment, collect the workbooks, or take the attendance to the office. On the sports field, see if your child can be the catcher with something to “do” in the game, instead of hanging out in the outfield picking flowers or cloud-gazing
At home, assign your child to be the “hopper” at dinner, the designated person to get the ketchup from the refrigerator, or extra napkins for the table. Or make your child the master scrambled egg maker or strawberry de-stemmer — even if he doesn’t like scrambled eggs. Even better, enlist him to do heavy lifting jobs like carrying in the groceries.
This strategy is effective for kids who struggle with hyperactivity, inattention, disorganization and emotional intensity. Everyone likes to feel that they are doing something productive, so give your kids a chance to see what they CAN do, instead of focusing on what they can’t.