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Motivating an ADHD Student

It can be hard to keep a student with ADHD motivated and working hard.  They are so prone to daydreaming that keeping them focused can be a challenge.  Their are some tricks you can use to help keep them focused and motivated as they work.

Break Work Into Smaller Chunks

Sometimes long worksheets or a whole page of math problems will overwhelm an ADHD child.  When they feel overwhelmed, they shut down and become less focused on their work.  You can solve that problem simply by splitting the same assignment into smaller sections.  Use a piece of construction paper to cover up the bottom two-thirds of the page.  Then tell your child that they can have a short break when they finish that top section.  When they finish, give them a 5 minute break before having them do the next third of the page.  Just shortening the amount of problems they have to look at all at once can help an ADHD child focus better.

Time Their Work

You can also have them race to beat their own time on each section of the paper.  As they start each section, start a timer somewhere that they can see it.  After the section, write down their time for that section.  Time them on each section and encourage them to see if they can beat their own time.  You may want to keep an eye out though for how they react to the timer.  For most children, seeing the timer will motivate them to work faster.  Some students, however, may get distracted by the timer and actually work slower.  If you find this to be the case, try putting the timer in a place that they cannot see and just telling them their end time for each section.

Give Them Caffeine

This may sound strange to say about a child, but a small amount of caffeine before an assignment or class can keep them more focused.  Of course, I don’t mean that you should give them a full cup of coffee before every class!  But if you notice that they are getting more and more distracted, give them a mini candy bar or a chocolate kiss.  You could also give them a soda during lunch to help them focus during those long afternoon classes.  The jolt of caffeine stimulates their brain and allows them to stay involved in their work instead of sleepy and daydreaming.

It is difficult to force an ADHD student to pay attention through an entire day of classes, but there are things that can help.  Talk with your child’s teacher about possibly implementing some of these ideas.  Or teach your child to use these ideas on their own.  You will see a difference in their attention before too long!  What other tricks do you use to help your ADHD student focus on their work?

Photo by:  Practical Cures

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