Getting organized is key to success at school. If you have a child with ADHD, you may be very familiar with their tendency to lose pens, forget books, submit unfinished school work, have endless piles of papers stuffed in the school bag, etc. However, teaching your child with ADHD how to become organized is absolutely possible! This is a great way to help ADHD kids succeed.

help ADHD kids

Why should kids be organized?

Being organized makes everything else easier. It helps learners work faster and it’s vital to their success in the classroom. Being organized will help a learner complete assignment on time or prepare materials for projects in advance. This way they will be able to achieve results.

Tips to help an ADHD learner get organized

Divide tasks into smaller pieces to help ADHD kids perform better

You can start by helping your child break down school projects or household chores into smaller tasks or steps. For example, if they have a school project the next day, ask them if they have packed everything they need to complete the project. They may nod and say yes, but prompt them to think about whether they need anything else. “That’s great”. You packed everything, but do you think you may need an additional item because it was listed on the material sheet for the project? “You may give them some hints, but let them think about the process. Teach them that each project has a beginning, middle, and end.

help ADHD kids

Make checklists

Now that they know what items they need, you can ask them to organize the all the material, worksheets and books on their desk. Ask them where they can find these items and how to pack them into their school bag. Once children know all the steps involved with a particular task, ask them to make a checklist for that specific task. For instance, you can ask them to make a to-do list for packing a school bag. Teach them how to organize books in a bag, how to group things together, what to pack, and what not to pack. This will give them a sense of responsibility. Moreover, they will avoid carrying unnecessary items to school and won’t leave behind any important materials or items such as their glasses. You can encourage them to make their list using a smartphone, tablet, or dry-erase board. This will keep them motivated to follow the list.

Teach the use of a calendar

Encourage learners to note down important tasks on a calendar, journal, or planner, whether it be digital or paper. Then help them evaluate the time they need to complete the task or project. Once they have completed the task, ask them if they were successful in completing the task in the time allocated. Then you can help them adjust the schedule for next time. This will also help them learn how to plan due dates for school assignments or projects, memorize the due dates and complete the project in the time allocated.

help ADHD kids

Set a routine

Create a plan to help learners comprehend and process what to anticipate throughout the day. The set routine will add discipline to their work. You can use picture schedules, planners, or other time management apps to encourage them to follow the routine.

In conclusion:

With these useful tips, you will no longer experience half-eaten lunches, or receive a teachers’ note that was buried in piles of paper and never made it, into your hand. The executive functioning skill of planning and organizing is important to ensure classroom success. It’s possible to teach a child with ADHD how to plan and organize. Motivate and encourage them to keep practicing this skill and make them aware of the necessity of good planning and organizational skills in order to achieve classroom success.

help child with homework

Is your ADHD child having a hard time with homework? We understand doing homework for your child can be painful at this moment in time, but this can change. Once we identify the missing skills necessary for homework independence and teach those skills, doing your child’s homework can become much less stressful for both parent and child. We want children to have the necessary skills in place so that they don’t need to rely on an adult for help. We will teach them how to take homework down correctly from the board and then how to plan and organize the execution of the homework in order for them to learn independence.

Here are some of the ways that you can help children with their homework:

Create a homework space

To start with, find a place where your child can study without any distractions. Create a comfortable and organized space for your child to do homework. This does not have to be fancy or big place. It can be any spot in the kitchen, their bedroom, or even on a floor mat in the living room. Tag along with them and get them into the homework habit. They quickly begin to associate that space with being focused and productive, successfully completing their homework.

help child with homework

Copying from the board

If your child does not copy down their homework assignments, we will need to teach this skill. This is the first step, towards successfully completing homework independently. Helping your child to learn how to use their homework diary can go a long way in ensuring their success. It will also help them plan for tests in advance and ensure that they complete projects timeously.


Similar to adults, children also need some motivation to work. So, identify what motivates your child. You can build a star chart or a rewards shopping list, or plan dinner at their favorite restaurant, or go to the movies at the end of the successful week. Children are motivated by a reward system, that gives them gratification upon successfully completing the task. Have your child be involved in deciding on the reward.

Build confidence

ADHD children can have low self-esteem. We start by relying on errorless learning to build confidence and then we can slowly fade our prompts. This means that in the beginning we must set them up to be successful and later fade our prompts. Lots of praise and making them feel successful is important. You can sit with them to complete the first two sums, but let them complete the rest on their own. This will build their confidence over time and lead to independence.

help child with homework

Key takeaways

A child with ADHD can be taught to complete their homework independently. Teaching independence is possible. Have your child involved in choosing the rewards for completing their homework independently. Set a timer so they know how long to expect homework will take and remember to praise them and build their confidence.

Illegible and untidy handwriting is common in children with ADHD. The good news, is that there are many ways to tackle untidy handwriting and to improve a learner’s fine motor skills. Even though they know what to write, they struggle with writing it down neatly. You will often hear from a teacher, “Sarah’s writing is all over the place. I just can’t read her answers.” Children with ADHD can learn to write neatly. They need to practice their fine motor skills in order to achieve motor fluency required for neat handwriting. Moreover, writing down their thoughts can be demanding and requires practice to achieve proficiency. A child with ADHD tends to rush, which will contribute to untidy handwriting. Let’s look at some factors that can help your child improve their handwriting.

5 factors to improve untidy handwriting

Get a good grip

You can find many pens or pencils with rubber grips at any online stationery store. Use the grip and teach your child where and how to hold their pencil. The rubber grip positions your child’s fingers at the right spot and keeps them there while they write.


Muscle memory

Repetition is key. Have your child practice writing the same thing a number of times. This will help them remember the strokes. To strengthen your child’s fingers have them use a spray bottle and clean windows. This will also strengthen their wrist. Small wrist movements is essential for neat handwriting. You can help your child by placing a book under their arm to practice using their wrist instead of their shoulder when forming the letters.

Teach your child to hold the pen closer to the edge so that they have the correct posture on the page. However, they should hold the pen firmly, or else holding it loosely will not get correct writing formations. Help them understand the importance of a steady wrist. Although the wrist should be slightly elevated, it should not be pointing in an upward direction.

You can add a wrist guard to keep the wrist down on the table or get an elevated writing board which will help your child strengthen their wrist and will also encourage the correct wrist elevation for neat handwriting. Let your child know, that they can use their dominant hand to write and the other hand to support.

Line spacing

Some children can’t distinguish the lines, slowing down their writing speed. You can introduce your child to ruled lines and show them where the lines begin and end. Practicing at home, will make it more familiar for them when they have to write in between the lines in class. They may face spacing issues too. In this case, you can teach them to use a finger space between the words for correct spacing. Remember, their letters don’t have to be artistic but legible.

untidy writing

Body posture

In order for your ADHD child to learn self-management and independence when it comes to handwriting make them aware of their body posture before they begin a worksheet. Make sure they sit up straight, feet flat on the ground, elbows above the table. Because right posture helps in rectifying shabby writing. Therefore, keep reminding them to correct their posture. Through practice, they will get used to the correct body posture which will help them improve their writing in the long run.

Key takeaways

Due to illegible handwriting, your child may encounter difficulties in the classroom frequently, especially in the early years of schooling. If these difficulties prevail, then it won’t take long for them to get discouraged. Therefore, follow the aforementioned steps and support your child improve their handwriting skills to ensure their success in the classroom.

Children with ADHD find it difficult to maintain sustained attention. The good news is that it is possible to improve your child’s sustained attention. Before diving deep, let’s understand what is sustained attention and how is it different from other types of attention.

How to improve your child's sustained attention?

Sustained attention
Sustained attention means maintaining focus and attention despite distractions. Moreover, the ability to get back to the same activity when interrupted is what sustained attention demands. It also includes the process of attaining information from multiple sources and choosing the most important to follow.
Sustained attention is developmental, as a toddler may not attend the activity for a longer period, unlike older children who need to focus and complete more complex tasks. Here are the ways to improve sustained attention in your ADHD child.

How to increase sustained attention?

Sustained attention, ADHD

Divide assignments
Your child may stop doing the activity if he thinks it’s difficult. To help him tackle the difficulty, you will have to cut down the project into smaller steps. This will allow him to work better with sustained attention. For instance, when you have to complete 10 questions, tell him, “First answer the top two questions only, we will get back to the rest of them later.” This will help him work on the two questions without losing focus.

Reward after completion
Parents usually limit their child’s screen time during school days. However, watching their favorite show can be an incentive to hold their attention if they know that they can finish the assignment and watch the show for half an hour. You can say, “As soon as you finish this project, you can watch your favorite show for half an hour.” This will energize them to complete their assignment without interruptions.

Praise for efforts
Simple phrases like ‘Good job’ can do wonders. Praise makes your child feel their contribution is valuable, which motivates them to outperform. So instead of saying “You should have completed 2 chapters till now,” say something like, ‘You tried hard to finish one chapter. That’s wonderful.”

Schedule breaks
Put a timer for preferred intervals. As the bell buzzes, have your child show you their work. This will not only give them a chance to move but allows them to mentally relax. Make sure to have periodic breaks that include some physical activity for them to work more efficiently.

Sustained attention, ADHD

Find connections
Children with ADHD usually get distracted by different thoughts. While solving a math problem, they can talk about an incident that they watched on TV 3 days ago. Encourage them by saying, “Tell me more. I am interested to know how you arrived at this thought. It is interesting.” This will enable them to speak and allow you to join the dots.

Key points
The evidence of rewarding an ADHD child after completing their assignment and division of activity has shown promising effects. As a parent, these are some of the steps you can take to help improve your child’s concentration. All it takes is a conscious change in how you respond to your child to bring a noteworthy change to their sustained attention.

Normally, every child will have dips in self-esteem as they go through different phases of life. Pressure of starting a new school, exams, homework, extra lessons may affect your child’s confidence. Many kids have an abundance of confidence and will easily pass through their difficult stages. But if your kid is a little afraid of the world, then he could be lacking self-esteem.

Self-esteem represents a person’s subjective sense of worth or value. In simple terms, it means how much you value yourself regardless of any situation. You can easily notice it in your child when they seem to feel good about themselves. And this idea of feeling good is what we call “self-esteem.”

child’s self-esteem

However, some kids feel they’re not as good as others or they have lack confidence. The lack of confidence stops them from trying new things. They doubt their abilities and are always hard on themselves. In this case, parents should build the child’s self-esteem. How, you ask? In this article, let’s discuss how to build a child’s self-esteem.

1. Discover strengths
A child with low self-esteem focuses on their weaknesses. So find ways that can help them recognize their strengths. If they enjoy painting, then buy art supplies and allow them to paint. Don’t forget to appreciate their efforts. This will not only make them understand that different kids have different potencies, but will inspire them to appreciate their own.

2. Take risks
Just as you take healthy risks to solve your problem, let your child branch out to try new activities or develop new skills. This will not only build their confidence, but a sense that they can tackle anything that comes their way.

3. Praise their efforts
Constant praising can erode self-esteem. Therefore, it is essential to recognize the effort your kid goes to in trying to achieve something. So, if they have completed their homework given by their primary school tutor but did not get a top grade, be sure to praise them for their efforts.

Encourage child’s self-esteem

4. Add household chores to their To-Do list
Delegate responsibilities to your child. Let them unload the dishwasher, set the table, fold sheets, or sweep floors. This allows them to demonstrate their competence to get the work done and feel that their assistance is valuable in the house.

5. Constructive criticism
Your words can either make or break your child. The way you communicate with your child translates into how they feel about themselves. Rather than bashing them harshly, offer constructive criticism. Encourage them to solve their problem and recognize when they’ve done it. For instance, instead of saying, ‘you are terrible with homework,’ try ‘how do you think you did with your homework today?’

6. Challenge negative thoughts
You may notice your child speaks badly about themselves. Stop them right away, instead challenge them to see what they can do rather than what they can’t. Try using the following affirmative sentences.

Build up child’s self-esteem

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Final thoughts
Having self-esteem does not mean you are more important than others or being arrogant. Therefore, maintaining a healthy balance is very important. Teach your child important values such as being kind, good manners, empathy, gratitude, etc. Ultimately, building your child’s self-esteem contributes to positive social behavior, regardless of circumstances.

How to teach self-esteem

How to address Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is an overall opinion of yourself. It involves understanding how a particular child feels about their abilities and limitations.

In order to boost a child’s self-esteem we need to help them see the positives and we need to build their confidence.

Many children with low self-esteem always see the negatives. If they have many negative beliefs we’d need to unravel the reason for these and replace these beliefs with positive new beliefs.

One way to improve a child’s self-esteem would be for their teacher to boost confidence through social praise. A simple question like, ‘what do you think you did well today?’ will go a long way in teaching a child to focus on the positives.

Children with low self-esteem could be bullied. In such a case, we’d want to focus on teaching assertiveness. The teacher could also teach the child to use a rating scale. If I don’t like what this person is saying how can I rate this? Is it true or is it just someone’s opinion and if I don’t like what has been said how can I be assertive?

If a child is constantly getting it wrong, they develop a fear that they always wrong. A teacher can build confidence by not making a child feel silly for giving a particular answer. The child should be acknowledged for attempting to answer and then the teacher can model the correct answer.

Another example to tackle self-esteem, would be to help the child identify 3 things they good at and 3 things they not so good at but could improve on.

We shouldn’t use the word ‘bad’ when speaking to a child with a low self-esteem we’d rather use the words ‘not so good at’.

The point is, that our words are powerful and need to be chosen very carefully, as they have an enormous impact on children with low self-esteem.

Drawing on the principles of ABA we can improve on a child’s self- esteem and teach this important skill.

The School Feedback Meeting

As Aaron graduated from one grade to the next, getting ready for the school feedback meeting was always stressful.

I would prepare in advance. Id arrive at the meeting with my laptop and take down every word, so that I could unravel the feedback and make sure I didnt doubt what had been said later. My behaviour would always make the teacher nervous but I didn’t care. All that mattered was Aaron and the end goal.

Martin on the other hand, couldnt care less. He’d tell me that Aaron was doing just fine and he wasnt bothered by feedback driven by teachers agendas that was no true reflection of his ability, where he’d come from or where he was going. Martin was confident in Aaron’s ability.

As time elapsed and Aaron caught up his delays, we were subjected to less feedback that could cause any parent to require resuscitation.It was extremely difficult for him to loose his shadow. The shadow of autism. The label teachers wanted to define him. The “out of the box” child they’d say. Just because he had some areas to polish didnt mean he displayed enough criteria for an autism diagnosis.

I had to fight the system to get him where he is today. Looking back, we put up a tremendous fight. In time, I came to realise that his teachers had very  narrow experience. They hadnt experienced inclusive education and they certainly hadnt experienced recovery. In the end, it resolved when Aaron proved himself and there was nothing left for them to attack or criticise.

Everytime we left “that” school meeting, Martin was mostly worried about whether he’d said the right thing so as not to upset me. Towards the end of Aaron’s journey, I’d prepare my responses prior to the meeting to find that no response was needed.

I can’t say its been a pleasant experience. In general, I feel that our South African education system falls short of true inclusive education. The support to integrate and provide the learning environment necessary to achieve recovery is lacking. What is needed is simply a change in mindset. I have written about this before but inclusive education is a legal right.

I now get to represent other parents at school meetings. The more parents demand a school system that supports the learner with a difference the more chance we have of a shift away from the old school of thought. The time has come for change! It is up to us to ensure that change and to secure inclusive education as a right for all learners in our country.