The Safety of Structure

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How important are routines?

The Safety of Structure

Structure, structure, structure. AD/HD children require consistency and predictability. Establish firm guidelines around homework time, meal time, and bedtime/rising time. Offer them tutorials and references that have helped you, such as a dictionary, thesaurus, and online resources. Whenever possible, lend a helping hand in the classroom when needed.

Schedules are important. Post a daily or weekly schedule in the kitchen and also in bedrooms and in the bathrooms. List the activities in the order they are to be done. The Morning Routine might look something like this: Awaken. Wash up. Dress yourself. Make bed. Come to breakfast. Brush teeth. Get bookbag and head to the bus stop.

1. Make eye contact with the child when you are making a request or giving a direction.

2. Tell the child what needs to be done, don't ask if they 'want' to do the chore. "Bathtime." Instead of saying, "Do you want to take your bath now?"

3. Ask your child to repeat back to you what you have just asked them to do. This will ensure that they understand what you expect of them, and they understand it correctly.

4. When you can, offer choices. By offering choices, you side-step many power struggles. You might say, "You need to make up your bed. You can either do it now or you will have to do it while your friends are playing outside. What is your choice?"

Allow enough time for the request to "sink in." Some children do not process auditory commands as quickly as some other children do.

Be prepared to re-explain a direction when needed. This takes patience, but when you become agitated and the tone of your voice shifts, your child may respond in a comparable way. Keep to your schedule as closely as possible. Sudden changes are not easily managed by the easily distracted - they need time to shift gears to meet the new request.



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