Motivating Children With ADHD to Learn

Using a Behavior Plan to Motivate Learning at School

You might consider developing a behavior plan with your child's teacher to help motivate your child to learn in the classroom. Behavior plans may help a child change behaviors that are interfering with classroom success. Rewards are given at home or at school for positive behaviors and good school performance.
When developing a behavior plan, it is important to set realistic goals and to identify specific behaviors that can be changed to reach those goals. These are sometimes called "target behaviors." For example, if your child needs to do better at following rules in the classroom, a target behavior may be to limit classroom interruptions to less than three times each period.
A key component of a behavior plan is rewards. Rewards provide the motivation for your child to follow the plan. Consider using both daily and weekly rewards. Also, use smaller rewards to recognize smaller accomplishments, and reserve larger rewards for bigger successes.
Your child will likely be motivated the most if he or she can choose from a list of possible rewards. The kinds of rewards offered should depend on your child's age and interests. Possible rewards may include things like:
  • Stickers
  • Television time
  • Playing a game
  • Spending time with mom or dad
  • Going to a movie.
Be creative and include your child's ideas when creating a reward list.

Motivating Your Child to Learn at Home

Learning at home can be just as challenging for your child as learning at school. However, helping your child learn at home gives you the opportunity to directly interact with your child. Strategies for helping your child learn at home include the following:
  • Keep a notebook to record homework assignments. Include due dates. Help your child divide larger assignments into smaller tasks, with deadlines for each task.
  • Use a folder to hold completed homework assignments so they are organized in one place.
  • Establish a daily routine for completing homework. Set aside a specific amount of time for doing homework each night. Stop when the time is up, not necessarily when homework is complete. It may help to use a timer. If your child cannot finish the homework in the allotted time, help your child learn to use that time efficiently.
  • Find a quiet place to do homework that is free of noise and distractions. This will help your child focus. Also, encourage your child to take breaks during homework time.
  • Reward your child for completing his or her homework or tasks. Offer incentives or praise for a job well done.
  • Provide assistance when your child needs it. Encourage your child to ask you questions about their homework assignments.
  • Keep school supplies in a routine place so they are ready to go when it is homework time. It may be helpful to keep an extra set of textbooks, if possible.
  • Find fun ways to help your child learn beyond homework. For example, play games that require math or reading skills.
  • Read with your child each evening, if possible. Make reading time a special time for you and your child. Reading can often be a great way to relax and prepare for bed at the end of the day.
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