top of page

8 Parenting Tips for Kids with ADHD

These are expert-approved, parent-tested techniques that could help offer guidance about how to parent children with ADHD. When you have a child with ADHD, you may need a different style of discipline. A few simple changes to your parenting approach could give your child the tools they need to manage their behavior more effectively.

To discipline a child with ADHD, try to set them up for success. Break down complicated tasks into small, action steps. Encouragement is helpful, stay positive. Try to let smaller infractions go as you focus on the larger goals. Kids with ADHD may have trouble sitting still, completing tasks, managing impulses, and following directions. 

These discipline strategies can be instrumental in helping a child with challenging behaviors to follow the rules:

1. Provide positive attention. Positive playtime reduces attention-seeking behavior. Giving your child 15 minutes of one-on-one attention is one of the simplest ways to reduce behavior problems.  

2. Give effective instructions. Gain your child's full attention and establish eye contact. You can even place a hand on your child's shoulder before making a request. Avoid lists of instructions or tasks. Stay away from broad tasks like "clean your room". Give one instruction at a time. Ask your child to repeat back what you have asked them to do. If you find yourself getting louder or repeating your child's name over and over again in hopes of getting your child's attention - stop and walk over to them, and use silent prompts to get their attention. Use soft touch, make eye contact, and give simple instructions. 

3. Celebrate successes and you will get more of them. Ignore mild misbehaviors. Help your child know when they have hit the mark. "Thank you for keeping your hands to yourself."

4. Use time-out when necessary. Time-out can be a good way to help a kid with ADHD calm their body and their brain. It doesn't have to be a harsh punishment, instead, it can be a great life skill that is useful in many situations. Create a comfortable area and calmly guide them there, eventually they will learn to go there all by themself.

5. Ignore mild misbehaviors. Kids with ADHD often exhibit attention-seeking behavior. Giving them attention, even when it's negative, encourages those behaviors to continue. Ignoring mild misbehaviors teaches them that obnoxious conduct won't get them the desired results they want. Ignore whining, complaining, loud noises, and attempts to interrupt you. Eventually, your child will stop.

6. Allow for natural consequences. When disciplining a child with ADHD, pick your battles wisely. You don't want your child to feel as if they can't do anything right or that they are constantly getting into trouble. Allowing some behaviors to slide can help you both. Sometimes, allowing for natural consequences makes more sense than trying to convince a child to make a better choice. For example, if your child refuses to take a break from playing to eat lunch, simply put the food away. The natural consequence is that they will likely be hungry later and will have to wait until dinner to eat. They will be more motivated to eat lunch when it is served. Put systems in place, simple rules and consequences, and then let the system work for you.

7. Establish a reward system. Get creative with your reward system and be consistent with your follow through. Establish a few target token earning behaviors, such as staying at the table during a meal, using a gentle touch with a pet, or putting toys away after using them. Then allow tokens to be exchanged for bigger rewards, such as electronics time or a chance to play a favorite game together. 

8. Work with your child's teacher. When parents work together with a child's teacher, it increases the chances that your child will be successful in school. Some children need modifications to their school work, such as being allowed extra time on tests, so they can be successful. Behavior modifications may be necessary as well. 

Having a child with ADHD can be challenging, but it is also an opportunity to help your child develop innate gifts and strengths. Children with ADHD are creative thinkers and ADHD doesn't have to be something that is negative. There are over 6 million children and adults with ADHD in the United States. This neuro-diversity allows us to change systems so they can get their needs met in better form. 

ADHD gives us all a chance to learn new skills and different ways to see those around us. Get educated as an adult and find a support group if needed. You can do this!

Loves always,



bottom of page