Tips for Teaching ADHD Kids at Home

a young child sits, chin in hand with head cocked

Tips for Teaching ADHD Kids at Home

Kids with ADHD are bright, funny, and charming. Typically, they are highly intelligent and creative. But when it’s time to do a lesson for school, these positive traits can be replaced by other not-so-positive traits: inattention, hyperactivity, daydreaming, irritability, even outright defiance.

Trying to parent a child with ADHD is difficult. Trying to teach a child with ADHD can feel almost impossible, especially if you are using a traditional approach to homeschooling. How can parents make teaching more enjoyable for themselves and their children? These tips for teaching ADHD kids at home can help. These are what I use to teach my children, all of whom have ADHD.

Obstacles to Teaching Kids with ADHD

Children with ADHD often exhibit physical issues that directly interfere with learning:

  • constant fidgeting or movement

  • talking too much

  • restlessness

  • disorganization

But there are other problems that may not be as obvious. Kids who have ADHD may also struggle with the following:

  • inability to concentrate

  • difficulty remembering information

  • sloppy or unreadable handwriting

  • frustration with schoolwork

Depending on the kind of ADHD a child has, there may also be behavioral problems such as temper tantrums, shouting, and meltdowns. Needless to say, trying to teach a child with ADHD presents more than its share of obstacles.

Tips for Teaching ADHD Kids

Proven Tips for Teaching Kids with ADHD

If you want to teach your child with ADHD successfully, you’ll have to think outside the box of traditional education. As ingrained as the concept of books and lectures may be, the “sit down and listen while I talk” method of teaching generally does not work for kids who have ADHD. They tend to space out, lose interest, and fidget.

Instead, try a few non-traditional ways of teaching, such as:

      • Weaving physical activity into learning: Have a child do jumping jacks while reciting items you want them to learn by heart: math facts, state capitals, etc.

      • Letting the child be the teacher: Give your child the textbook and let him or her teach the lesson by reading the selection and explaining it while you take notes.

      • Limiting the lesson time: If your child tends to lose interest, set a timer for 10 minutes. Challenge him or her to pay attention and remain engaged until the timer goes off.

Tips for Teaching ADHD Kids at Home

      • Taking frequent breaks: No child with ADHD will remain attentive if he or she is required to sit motionless for long stretches. Every 10 or 15 minutes, take a movement break when kids can walk around, stretch, or dance for a bit.

      • Structuring the day: Enlist your child’s help to design a basic schedule for the daily lesson. Don’t worry about exact times for each subject. Instead, list the subjects you will cover in order. That way, your child knows what to expect and can mentally prepare.

      • Using mnemonic devices: Mnemonic devices are wonderful ways to remember important facts. For example: My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us Nachos is a mnemonic device for remembering the order of the planets in our solar system: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune. Your kids may even want to create their own!

      • Taking a break from handwriting: If your child really struggles with handwriting, let him or her narrate or type responses or essays. To improve handwriting, work on drawing or fine motor skill activities, instead of assigning pages of handwriting practice.

      • Giving your child a say in the lesson: Ask your child what he or she wants to learn this year and find a way to include those topics. If your kids want to learn, they’ll be far more likely to pay attention!

With the right mind-set and preparation, teaching kids with ADHD can be fun and engaging. It can even make you a better teacher! Try these tips to make this upcoming school year the best one yet for your ADHD kids!

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SelenaAbout the Author

Selena is a homeschooling graduate and a veteran homeschooling mother of four, including three with ADHD. She and her husband, Jay, use an eclectic homeschooling approach to encourage their children to learn throughout their lives. Selena blogs about her family's homeschooling adventures every week at Look! We're Learning!