Behavior and Discipline Tips for Parents of ADHD Toddlers and Preschoolers

Four ways to help young children living with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) see patterns, make connections, solve problems, and improve behavior.

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Lighting Up Young Brains © istockphoto/artisticcaptures

Parents, we know that you're always looking for new ways to engage your attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) children, and you're in luck. We've got a powerful strategy that you can use with your child that will improve his executive skills now and when he is older. It’s called verbal scaffolding. It sounds complicated, but it’s about helping your child see patterns, make connections, and draw on past knowledge when doing activities.

How Verbal Scaffolding Helps Stubborn ADD/ADHD Children

Instead of barking out, “Just take your medicine” when your child refuses to, say, “If you don’t take your medicine, your strep throat will come back.” Instead of saying, “Don’t press down so hard with that pencil,” try, “If you bear down too hard, you’ll break the pencil lead.”

The more you help children think about what they do and why, the greater the capacity they’ll develop for problem-solving situations. Research shows that three-year-old children whose mothers provide explanations and ask questions tend to have better problem-solving skills and goal-directed behavior at age six.

Next: How asking questions boost the mental connections in your ADD/ADHD child's brain

This article appears in the Spring 2010 issue of ADDitude.

To read this issue of ADDitude in full, buy the back issue.

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TAGS: Behavior in ADHD Kids, ADHD in Preschool|Kindergarten, ADHD and Anger

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