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ADHD Parenting Tips

Does your child have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder? Learn what you can do to manage their behavior and deal with common ADHD challenges.

Mother and son drawing together

How to help your child with ADHD

与患有注意力缺陷多动障碍(ADHD或ADD)的儿童或青少年生活在一起是令人沮丧的, even overwhelming. But as a parent you can help your child overcome daily challenges, channel their energy into positive arenas, and bring greater calm to your family. And the earlier and more consistently you address your child’s problems, the greater chance they have for success in life.

Children with ADHD generally have deficits in executive function: the ability to think and plan ahead, organize, control impulses, and complete tasks. That means you need to take over as the executive, providing extra guidance while your child gradually acquires executive skills of their own.

Although the symptoms of ADHD can be nothing short of exasperating, it’s important to remember that the child who is ignoring, annoying, or embarrassing you is not acting willfully. Kids with ADHD want to sit quietly; they want to make their rooms tidy and organized; they want to do everything their parent says to do—but they don’t know how to make these things happen.

If you keep in mind that having ADHD is just as frustrating for your child, it will be a lot easier to respond in positive, supportive ways. With patience, compassion, and plenty of support, you can manage childhood ADHD while enjoying a stable, happy home.

ADHD and your family

Before you can successfully parent a child with ADHD, it’s essential to understand the impact of your child’s symptoms on the family as a whole. Children with ADHD exhibit a slew of behaviors that can disrupt family life. They often don’t “hear” parental instructions, so they don’t obey them. They’re disorganized and easily distracted, keeping other family members waiting. Or they start projects and forget to finish them—let alone clean up after them. Children with impulsivity issues often interrupt conversations, demand attention at inappropriate times, and speak before they think, saying tactless or embarrassing things. It’s often difficult to get them to bed and to sleep. Hyperactive children may tear around the house or even put themselves in physical danger.

Because of these behaviors, siblings of children with ADHD face a number of challenges. Their needs often get less attention than those of the child with ADHD. They may be rebuked more sharply when they err, and their successes may be less celebrated or taken for granted. 如果患有多动症的兄弟姐妹在他们的监督下行为不端,他们可能会被当作父母的助手. As a result, 兄弟姐妹可能会发现他们对患有多动症的兄弟姐妹的爱夹杂着嫉妒和怨恨.

The demands of monitoring a child with ADHD can be physically and mentally exhausting. 你的孩子不能“倾听”会导致挫折,而这种挫折会导致愤怒——随之而来的是对你的孩子生气的内疚. Your child’s behavior can make you anxious and stressed. If there’s a basic difference between your personality and that of your child with ADHD, their behavior can be especially difficult to accept.

In order to meet the challenges of raising a child with ADHD, you must to be able to master a combination of compassion and consistency. 对于正在学习管理ADHD的孩子或青少年来说,生活在一个既提供爱又提供结构的家庭是最好的事情.

ADHD parenting tip 1: Stay positive and healthy yourself

As a parent, you set the stage for your child’s emotional and physical health. 你可以控制许多因素,这些因素可以积极地影响你孩子的障碍症状.

Maintain a positive attitude. 帮助你的孩子应对ADHD挑战的最佳资产是你积极的态度和常识. When you are calm and focused, you are more likely to be able to connect with your child, helping him or her to be calm and focused as well.

Keep things in perspective. Remember that your child’s behavior is related to a disorder. Most of the time it is not intentional. Hold on to your sense of humor. What’s embarrassing today may be a funny family story ten years from now.

Don’t sweat the small stuff and be willing to make some compromises. 当你的孩子已经完成了另外两件杂务加上当天的家庭作业时,一件杂务没做完也没什么大不了的. If you are a perfectionist, 你不仅会不断地感到不满,而且还会对你患有ADHD的孩子产生不可能的期望.

Believe in your child. Think about or make a written list of everything that is positive, valuable, and unique about your child. Trust that your child can learn, change, mature, and succeed. Reaffirm this trust on a daily basis as you brush your teeth or make your coffee.


As your child’s role model and most important source of strength, it is vital that you live a healthy life. If you are overtired or have simply run out of patience, 你可能会忽视你为患有多动症的孩子精心建立的结构和支持.

Seek support. 在抚养患有多动症的孩子时,最重要的事情之一是你不必独自承担. Talk to your child’s doctors, therapists, and teachers. Join an organized support group for parents of children with ADHD. These groups offer a forum for giving and receiving advice, and provide a safe place to vent feelings and share experiences.

Take breaks. Friends and family can be wonderful about offering to babysit, but you may feel guilty about leaving your child, or leaving the volunteer with a child with ADHD. Next time, accept their offer and discuss honestly how best to handle your child.

Take care of yourself. Eat right, exercise, and find ways to reduce stress, whether it means taking a nightly bath or practicing morning meditation. If you do get sick, acknowledge it and get help.

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Tip 2: Establish structure and stick to it

当任务以可预测的模式和地点发生时,患有ADHD的儿童更有可能成功地完成任务. Your job is to create and sustain structure in your home, so that your child knows what to expect and what they are expected to do.

Tips for helping your child with ADHD stay focused and organized:

Follow a routine. 重要的是要为所有的事情设定一个时间和地点,以帮助患有多动症的孩子理解和满足他们的期望. Establish simple and predictable rituals for meals, homework, play, and bed. Have your child lay out clothes for the next morning before going to bed, and make sure whatever he or she needs to take to school is in a special place, ready to grab.

Use clocks and timers. Consider placing clocks throughout the house, with a big one in your child’s bedroom. 为孩子需要做的事情留出足够的时间,比如家庭作业或早上的准备. Use a timer for homework or transitional times, such as between finishing up play and getting ready for bed.

Simplify your child’s schedule. It is good to avoid idle time, 但如果有很多课外活动,患有多动症的孩子可能会变得更加心烦意乱,变得“紧张”. 你可能需要根据孩子个人的能力和对特定活动的要求来调整孩子的课后承诺.

Create a quiet place. Make sure your child has a quiet, private space of their own. A porch or a bedroom work well, as long as it’s not the same place as the child goes for a time-out.

Do your best to be neat and organized. Set up your home in an organized way. Make sure your child knows that everything has its place. Lead by example with neatness and organization as much as possible.

Avoid problems by keeping kids with ADHD busy!

For kids with ADHD, idle time may exacerbate their symptoms and create chaos in your home. 重要的是要让患有多动症的孩子忙碌起来,而不是堆积太多的事情,让孩子不知所措.

Sign your child up for a sport, art class, or music. At home, organize simple activities that fill up your child’s time. 这些任务可以是帮你做饭,和兄弟姐妹玩棋盘游戏,或者画画. Try not to over-rely on the television or computer/video games as time-fillers. Unfortunately, 电视和电子游戏在本质上越来越暴力,可能只会增加你的孩子的多动症症状.

Tip 3: Encourage movement and sleep

Children with ADHD often have energy to burn. 有组织的运动和其他体育活动可以帮助他们以健康的方式释放能量,并把注意力集中在特定的动作和技能上. The benefits of physical activity are endless: it improves concentration, decreases depression and anxiety, and promotes brain growth. Most importantly for children with attention deficits, however, is the fact that exercise leads to better sleep, which in turn can also reduce the symptoms of ADHD.

Find a sport that your child will enjoy and that suits their strengths. For example, 像垒球这样需要大量“休息时间”的运动并不适合有注意力问题的孩子. 像篮球和曲棍球这样需要不断运动的个人或团队运动是更好的选择. 患有多动症的儿童也可以从武术(如跆拳道)或瑜伽的训练中受益, which enhance mental control as they work out the body.

The benefits of “green time” in kids with attention deficit disorder

Research shows that children with ADHD benefit from spending time in nature. 当孩子们在满是草地和树木的公园里玩耍时,比在混凝土操场上玩耍时,他们的多动症症状会得到更大的缓解. Take note of this promising and simple approach to managing ADHD. Even in cities, most families have access to parks and other natural settings. 和你的孩子们一起享受这个“绿色时光”吧——你也会得到应得的新鲜空气.

ADHD and sleep

Insufficient sleep can make anyone less attentive, but it can be highly detrimental for children with ADHD. Kids with ADHD need at least as much sleep as their unaffected peers, but tend not to get what they need. Their attention problems can lead to overstimulation and trouble falling asleep. A consistent, early bedtime is the most helpful strategy to combat this problem, but it may not completely solve it.

Help your child get better rest by trying out one or more of the following strategies:

Decrease television time and increase your child’s activities and exercise levels during the day.

Eliminate caffeine from your child’s diet.

Create a buffer time to lower down the activity level for an hour or so before bedtime. Find quieter activities such as coloring, reading or playing quietly.

Spend ten minutes cuddling with your child. This will build a sense of love and security as well as provide a time to calm down.

Use lavender or other aromas in your child’s room. The scent may help to calm your child.

Use relaxation tapes as background noise for your child when falling asleep. There are many varieties available including nature sounds and calming music. Children with ADHD often find “white noise” to be calming. You can create white noise by putting a radio on static or running an electric fan.

Tip 4: Set clear expectations and rules

Children with ADHD need consistent rules that they can understand and follow. Make the rules of behavior for the family simple and clear. Write down the rules and hang them up in a place where your child can easily read them.

患有ADHD的儿童对有组织的奖励和后果系统反应特别好. 重要的是要解释遵守规则和违反规则会发生什么. 最后,坚持你的系统:每一次都有奖励或结果.

As you establish these consistent structures, keep in mind that children with ADHD often receive criticism. Be on the lookout for good behavior—and praise it. 对患有多动症的孩子来说,表扬尤其重要,因为他们通常很少得到表扬. These children receive correction, remediation, and complaints about their behavior—but little positive reinforcement.

A smile, positive comment, or other reward from you can improve the attention, concentration and impulse control of your child with ADHD. Do your best to focus on giving positive praise for appropriate behavior and task completion, 同时尽可能少地对不恰当的行为或糟糕的任务表现做出负面回应. Reward your child for small achievements that you might take for granted in another child.

Using Rewards and Consequences
  • Reward your child with privileges, praise, or activities, rather than with food or toys.
  • Change rewards frequently. Kids with ADHD get bored if the reward is always the same.
  • Make a chart with points or stars awarded for good behavior, so your child has a visual reminder of their successes.
  • Immediate rewards work better than the promise of a future reward, but small rewards leading to a big one can also work.
  • Always follow through with a reward.
  • 后果应该提前说明,并在你的孩子表现不好后立即发生.
  • Try time-outs and the removal of privileges as consequences for misbehavior.
  • Remove your child from situations and environments that trigger inappropriate behavior.
  • When your child misbehaves, ask what he or she could have done instead. Then have your child demonstrate it.
  • Always follow through with a consequence.

Tip 5: Help your child eat right

Diet is not a direct cause of attention deficit disorder, but food can and does affect your child’s mental state, which in turn seems to affect behavior. Monitoring and modifying what, when, and how much your child eats can help decrease the symptoms of ADHD.

All children benefit from fresh foods, regular meal times, and staying away from junk food. These tenets are especially true for children with ADHD, whose impulsiveness and distractedness can lead to missed meals, disordered eating, and overeating.

Children with ADHD are notorious for not eating regularly. Without parental guidance, these children might not eat for hours and then binge on whatever is around. The result of this pattern can be devastating to the child’s physical and emotional health.

防止不健康的饮食习惯,定期为你的孩子安排营养餐或零食,间隔不超过三个小时. Physically, a child with ADHD needs a regular intake of healthy food; mentally, meal times are a necessary break and a scheduled rhythm to the day.

  • Get rid of the junk foods in your home.
  • Put fatty and sugary foods off-limits when eating out.
  • Turn off television shows riddled with junk-food ads.
  • Give your child a daily vitamin-and-mineral supplement.

Tip 6: Teach your child how to make friends

Children with ADHD often have difficulty with simple social interactions. They may struggle with reading social cues, talk too much, interrupt frequently, or come off as aggressive or “too intense.” Their relative emotional immaturity can make them stand out among children their own age, and make them targets for unfriendly teasing.

Don’t forget, though, 许多患有ADHD的孩子都非常聪明和有创造力,最终会自己找到如何与他人相处的方法,并发现不适合做朋友的人. Moreover, 可能会让家长和老师恼怒的性格特征,可能会给同龄人带来有趣和迷人的印象.

Helping a child with ADHD improve social skills

It’s hard for children with ADHD to learn social skills and social rules. You can help your child with ADHD become a better listener, learn to read people’s faces and body language, and interact more smoothly in groups.

  • Speak gently but honestly with your child about their challenges and how to make changes.
  • Role-play various social scenarios with your child. Trade roles often and try to make it fun.
  • Be careful to select playmates for your child with similar language and physical skills.
  • Invite only one or two friends at a time at first. 在他们打球的时候,要仔细观察他们,对他们的殴打、推搡和叫喊要采取零容忍政策.
  • Make time and space for your child to play, and reward good play behaviors often.

Last updated: October 2021

Get more help

Parenting a Child with ADHD – Tips and strategies for parents. (KidsHealth)

Parenting a Teen with ADHD – Tips and strategies. (TeensHealth)

ADHD: Tips for Parents – Includes behavioral modification strategies. (Center for Parent Information & Resources)

Parenting a Child with ADHD (PDF) – Tips and resources. (National Resource Center on ADHD)

Hotlines and support

In the U.S.: Talk with an ADHD Information Specialist at 1-, Monday-Friday, 1-5 pm ET, or search the Professional Directory for ADHD clinics and other resources. (CHADD)

UK: Call the YoungMinds Parents Helpline at 0 (Monday to Friday 9.30am – 4pm) or find resources for parents of children with ADHD.

Australia: Call a Parent helpline in your area or find a list of ADHD Australia support groups.

Canada:  Find a support group in your area. (CADDAC)

India: Call the Vandrevala Foundation Helpline  at 1 or 1