If you are homeschooling a child with ADHD, use these ADHD motivation tips to keep them on track and avoid power struggles.
If you have a child with ADHD, you know that if she/he doesn’t want to learn something, it is nearly impossible to get them to do that task.
My mom always described the experience as difficult as, “pulling teeth.”
It’s a good description.
For the child with ADHD, anything they don’t currently want to do is The Worst Thing Ever. It doesn’t matter if you are trying to teach them a new math problem or telling them to tie their shoe. There will be equal hatred for any unwanted activity.
Most children with ADHD that I know don’t respond well to negative consequences. Many children will consider the consequences worth it to get out of doing what they didn’t want to do.
This list takes a different approach to ADHD motivation and offers practical, positive encouragement and motivation tips so you can help your ADHD child learn without power struggles.
ADHD Motivation Tips for When Learning is Non-Negotiable
Use these ADHD motivation tips to relieve power struggles and facilitate learning throughout your homeschool year.
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Create a Reward Tracking System
Monkey, and most ADHD kids I’ve met, love working toward a goal.
However, if the goal is too far off, or you can’t see the goal or progress, the child will get sidetracked and probably forget what she is working toward.
This is where I like to use visual progress trackers.
When I was a child, I LOVED these sorts of trackers and I would work extra hard to reach the goal sooner. This is probably why Sing Spell Read and Write worked so well as a reading program for my siblings, because they not only could see their progress on the race track, but they also got a small prize at the end of each milestone.
Any sort of daily checklist to reach a reward at the end of the school day, or a slightly longer-term progress tracker to earn a big reward (Monkey likes trips to the frozen yogurt shop) will make a huge difference to the ADHD child.
The ADHD child wants to know WHY she/he is doing something they don’t want to do, and if there is a constant reminder of the goal they are working toward, it will eliminate much of the teacher/student struggle.
Here are some of my favorite reward trackers for kids with ADHD:
- This hands-on to-do list tracker
- This paint-themed reward chart
- This customizable reward chart
- This super-simple reward chart
Engage in One-on-One Time
I don’t know if all children with ADHD are like this, but Monkey prefers me to sit with her when she is doing her school. Usually, we go over the lesson and then when she is completing her assignment, she sits next to me while I work.
When I’m not with her, she gets distracted, makes sloppy mistakes, and takes longer to do her lessons. The one-on-one time helps eliminate much of this problem.
Let the Child Set their Schedule
This works best for older kids with ADHD. Pull them aside when they are not emotionally charged (you would do this on a weekend, perhaps, or before the school day starts). Talk about the goals of the week/month/year/whatever and discuss how the child wants to arrange their schedule to fit everything in.
I find that when I discuss the plan with Monkey and she comes to the realization that she will have to devote a certain amount of time to each daily task, she is much less likely to fight me when assignment time comes.
Make a Checklist
Monkey and I thrive on checklists. We love seeing everything we have to do and getting it done in a methodical way. We like wipe-away daily to-do lists.
There are a lot of printable to-do lists that you can find, but this one is my favorite. Laminate it and you can re-use it over and over.
A Word on Timers
Some parents love using timers to keep kids on track. This might work with some kids, but for Monkey, it creates high anxiety. If you find your kids reacting poorly to timers, I suggest using other motivational tools.