Giving Instructions to Kids with ADHD

Giving Instructions to Kids with ADHD

Keisha has a 10-year-old daughter with ADHD who is driving her crazy because she doesn’t pay attention to instructions at home. Here are some tips!

First, ask her for some sort of signal that she’s ready to hear instructions. This could be a head nod or a “yes.”

Keep instructions to no more than 4 steps! Number them! Then condense each step into a single word or short phrase.

Recap using those numbered words or phrases. Finally, ask her to recap using those numbered words or phrases.

Instructions like, “I need you to go upstairs to your room, pick up all your clothes and put them in the hamper, pick out your clothes for today and get dressed, and then go brush your teeth,” could be compacted to…

1. Upstairs

2. Hamper

3. Dressed

4. Teeth

Instructions that are short and sweet have a better chance of being followed!

Check out the Mind Matters Show for more learning tips. Watch other videos in our Psych in 60 series to learn more about ADHD and leave your questions in the comments below!

Click here for more content by Dr. Craig Pohlman!

Dr. Craig Pohlman
Craig is a learning expert who has helped thousands of struggling students in his psychology career. He’s written extensively about learning issues, including the book How Can My Kid Succeed in School? He has three sons, so he has been up close and personal with things like cramming for tests, scrambling to finish homework, shuttling kids to sports practices, stuffing backpacks, etc. Follow him on Twitter - @DrCraigPohlman


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