5 ADHD Trouble Spots and How to Avoid Them

By Amanda Morin

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ADHD can make many everyday situations difficult, but which ones are the most challenging for your child? Here are some common trouble spots and simple strategies that might make things easier for you and your child.

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Young boy and father practicing hand grip
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Being Part of the Group

Watching your child struggle in social situations can be upsetting, but it’s important to remember it’s not his fault. Issues with impulse control and social cues can cause him to disrupt other kids’ games or get upset if things don’t go his way.

Tip: Role-playing, or acting out a situation that your child is likely to encounter, can help him know what to say or do to achieve a positive outcome. Before he goes to a bowling party, walk through how he might react if his ball keeps going in the gutter. Before he goes to the park, pretend to be a potential playmate so your child can practice asking to join in a game.

Middle-school boy hanging art on board at home
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Being Prepared for the Day

Kids with ADHD tend to be disorganized, with messy rooms and overflowing lockers and backpacks. That means they often can’t find the important items they need for the day, such as homework, phones, house keys and calculators.

Tip: Putting together a checklist of the next day’s activities and the things your child will need can help him keep track of his belongings.

Teen girl lying on her bed writing in a notebook
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Finishing Chores

Your child may have good intentions when it comes to doing chores, but that’s usually not enough to get the job done. Kids with ADHD have a hard time finishing what they start, especially if it’s a multi-step task.

Tip: Using chore organization tools like charts and checklists can help your child keep track of what he needs to do from start to finish. Creating a “chore playlist” of songs and challenging him to finish before the playlist ends may also keep him on task.

Mom passing out bagged lunches to her two sons as they head out the door for school
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Getting Out the Door

Even if the morning drill is pretty much the same every day, your child may struggle to get everything done in time. This isn’t surprising, since kids with attention issues often have difficulty with planning and figuring out the next step.

Tip: Creating a picture schedule or one with few words may help your child stay on track. You can also let him create his own solution. Try having him draw out the steps for what needs to get done or make a giant checklist to hang on his door.

Teenage Boy playing with his dog outdoors
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Tackling Homework

Homework battles aren’t uncommon in any household, but they may be a daily occurrence in yours. Kids with ADHD have difficulty settling down and focusing after the long school day. They also rush through work and make careless mistakes because they can’t remember the directions or sit in one place long enough to double-check work.

Tip: Break down your child’s assignments into smaller pieces, and encourage him to walk the dog or do some other sort of exercise during homework breaks. Creating a homework station that’s free of distractions may also help keep him engaged longer.

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5 Types of Fun Fidgets for Kids With ADHD

Fidgets can help some kids with ADHD focus better. They’re not “one size fits all,” however. Different types of fidgets can meet different sensory needs. You can see which work best for your child, and then talk to the teacher about using them in class.

Understood does not endorse or receive financial compensation for the sale of any of these products.

5 Common Myths About ADHD

There are a lot of misconceptions about ADHD (also known as ADD). This can make it hard to know what’s true and how best to support your child. Here we separate myth from fact to help you feel more confident in your ADHD knowledge.

About the Author

Portrait of Amanda Morin

Amanda Morin is a parent advocate, a former teacher and the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.

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Portrait of Bob Cunningham

Bob Cunningham, Ed.M., serves as advisor-in-residence on learning and attention issues for Understood.

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