If school was a washout last year, help your ADHD child improve his academic and social lives — beginning now.
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The unhappy child spent the year grounded in the schoolroom — no recess, no parties, and no field trips, because he constantly owed back work. To add to his academic misfortunes, Matthew spent third grade in social isolation.
Children often take emotional cues from their parents. To steer your child toward a fresh beginning, put a moratorium on being upset — this is a new hour or a new day or a new school year.
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Was it math, or not having enough time to complete work in the classroom, or not enough help from your teacher? Consider, for example, hiring a tutor to focus on difficult subjects, even before school starts.
Tutoring can help her review and catch up, so the new school year will be less daunting. If this is the case, the child might benefit by working with a professional counselor or therapist, says Treloar. A skilled therapist offers a safe, objective environment in which to talk about her feelings and work on strategies for navigating tricky school scenarios. So we got a referral to psychologist, who helped her develop age-appropriate strategies such as thinking of something that made her really happy when she felt sad to feel better.
In other words, set goals. Talk to your child about specific plans for the coming year — better grades, more playdates after school — then discuss how to make these things happen. Then take your plans to school. Your aim is to create a team relationship among your child, the teacher, and you.
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Talk about what works for your child in terms of motivation, discipline, and structure, and what her interests are. Some kids learn best by reading, some by what they hear, and so on. Assure your child that everyone is on her side and wants to help her succeed. But make sure she knows she is also to be an active member of the team.
To kids like Matthew, who have few friends in school, parents can offer essential social support. Help him find ways to change these behaviors into ones that are more positive.
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What could he do differently that would help him get along with other kids? How should he react to what another child says or does? Role-play social situations with your child so he has experience to draw from when he needs to make a choice.
This practice will allow your child to react with less impulsivity. Have your child name a couple of schoolmates he relates to, and set up some pre-school playdates with them.
For kids with ADHD, limit playdates to two hours and preplan activities a bike ride, a craft project to avoid boredom and frustration. Provide a lot of supervision, so the time together can be positive for your child and his friends. Once school starts, ask your child daily about school and about his friendships.
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Encourage him to see things from several perspectives when things go wrong, and to problem-solve. For example, if your child unsuccessfully tried to a basketball game by running onto the court and grabbing the ball, discuss other ways he might enter the game.
How about if I in? Celebrate the small successes along the way, and make sure your child knows that his efforts paid off in positive outcomes. You must be logged in to post a comment.
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Fresh Start If school was a washout last year, help your ADHD child improve his academic and social lives — beginning now. By Nancy Mades. A new point of view Children often take emotional cues from their parents. Stay the course Once school starts, ask your child daily about school and about his friendships.
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