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What are the best day-to-day strategies to support a child with ADHD?

Create structure for your child

  • Build a routine for your child and stick to it every day as best as possible. Establish habits around meals, homework, playtime, and bedtime. Simple daily tasks, such as having your child lay out its clothing for the next day, can provide needed structure.

Simplify and organize your child’s life

  • Create a special, quiet space for your child to read, do homework, and take a break from the chaos of everyday life. Keep your home neat and organized so that your child knows where everything goes. This helps reduce unnecessary distractions.

Encourage exercise

  • Physical activity burns excess energy in healthy ways as well as cortisol. It also helps a child focus their attention on specific movements. This may decrease impulsivity. Exercise can also help to improve concentration and decrease the risk for depression and anxiety. It stimulates the brain in healthy ways. Many professional athletes have ADHD. Experts believe that athletics can help a child with ADHD find a constructive way to focus their passion, attention, and energy.

Manage aggression with Time/Space

  • Aggressive outbursts from children with ADHD can be a problem. Time/Space is an effective way to calm you and your overactive child. If your child acts out in public, they shall be removed in a calm and decisive manner. Time/Space needs to be explained to the child as a period to cool off and for the child to recognize that it needs time to calm down as they sometimes do not recognize they need it. We have to ignore mildly disruptive behaviours as a way for our child to release pent-up energy. Destructive, abusive or very disruptive behaviour however or ones that go very much against the rules you established and agreed on, will constantly have to be corrected.

Break tasks into manageable pieces

  • Try using a large wall calendar to help remind a child of their duties. Color-coded chores and homework can keep your child from becoming overwhelmed with the tasks or school assignments. Even morning routines should be broken down into distinct tasks.

Limit distractions

  • Children with ADHD welcome easily accessible distractions. Television, video games, and the computer encourage impulsive behaviour and need to be controlled. By decreasing time with electronics as much as possible and increasing time doing engaging activities outside the home, the child will have an outlet for built-up energy.

Regulate sleep patterns

  • Bedtime may be especially difficult for children suffering from ADHD. Lack of sleep exacerbates inattention, hyperactivity, and recklessness. Helping your child get better sleep is important. To help them get better rest, eliminate stimulants like sugar and caffeine, and decrease television time. Establish a healthy, calming bedtime ritual.

Encourage out-loud thinking

  • Children with ADHD can lack self-control. This causes them to speak and act before thinking. Ask your child to verbalize their thoughts and reasoning when the urge to act out arises. It’s important to understand your child’s thought process in order to help it curb impulsive behaviours.

Promote wait time

  • Another way to control the impulse to speak before thinking is to teach your child how to pause a moment before talking or replying. Encourage more thoughtful responses by breathing exercises or helping your child with homework assignments and asking interactive questions about a favourite television show or book if needed.

Believe in your child

  • Your child likely doesn’t realize the stress that their condition can cause. It’s important to remain positive and encouraging. Be willing to make some compromises with your child. If your child has accomplished two of the three chores you assigned, consider being flexible with the third, uncompleted task. It’s a learning process and even small steps count.

  • Praise your child’s good behaviour so they know when something was done right. Your child may struggle with ADHD now, but it doesn’t have to last forever. Have confidence in your child and be optimistic about their future.

Find individualized counselling

  • You can’t do it all. Your child needs your encouragement, but they might also need professional help. Find a therapist to work with your child and provide another outlet for them. Don’t be afraid to seek assistance if you need it. Many parents are so focused on their children that they neglect their own mental needs.

  • A therapist can help manage your stress and anxiety as well as your child’s. They also help kids develop additionally social, emotional, and planning skills that are lagging with ADHD and teach you the best ways to respond to behaviour difficulties that are part of ADHD. Local support groups may also be a helpful outlet for parents.


ADHD has nothing to do with intelligence or talent. Kids with ADHD can demonstrate many positive traits such as:

Creativity - A child who daydreams in moderation could become a great problem-solver or an inventive artist, as they can be wonderfully creative and imaginative.

Flexibility - Children with ADHD consider a lot of options at once, they don’t become set on one alternative and are more open to different ideas that can be utilized.

Enthusiasm and spontaneity – These kids are interested in a lot of different things and have lively personalities. In short, children with ADHD can be a lot of fun to be with and are rarely boring.

Energy and drive - When kids with ADHD are motivated, they work or play hard and strive to succeed. It actually may be difficult to distract them from a task that interests them, especially if the activity is interactive or hands-on.

McAtee Psychology is a private family psychology practice offering counselling, assessment, and therapeutic services to families. Our services include counselling and assessment for individuals, couples, and children & teens. Our mission is to help you and your family create a more rich, connected, and meaningful life.

McAtee Psychology NW: 1982 Kensington Road NW, Calgary, AB

McAtee Psychology SE: 105, 11500 29 St SE, Calgary, AB |

Phone: 403-926-3738

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