Ask the Experts

Teaching Responsibility

“I have a eight-year-old daughter who has ADHD and is taking medication. We just can’t seem to get her to do anything that is time related (ex. like getting ready for school), fast enough. I have tried making it into a game and beating the clock, with rewards if she hurries. It just doesn’t seem to work. “I usually end up getting her dressed or doing things for her in order to get it done faster. Her teachers and others say she is now dependent on others to do things for her and is not as mature as most eight year olds. What can I do to help her without keeping her from growing up and taking some responsibility for her own actions?” – GKT, Alabama

Typically children with ADHD lag behind in maturity, so patience and understanding is needed both at home and in school. Also many individuals with ADHD are very poor at estimating time. To increase her awareness of time and improve her skill at it, encourage her to wear a watch and check it often.

If the bathroom is a place she tends to lose track of time, a clock may be needed there to help her out. Ask her frequently what time it is. If you are traveling, ask her how long she thinks it will take and have her time the trip, so she can see how close she comes to estimating it.

The more she is encouraged to estimate how long things take, the better awareness she will have of time passing.

Last but not least, be sure to plan enough time for getting ready for school. If she is just plain slower than others in the household when it comes to getting dressed or eating breakfast, then that has to be taken into account when determining what time she needs to get up by.

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