Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Develop a signal for transitioning.

What you can do

Work together to develop a signal that will help prepare your child for transitions and get through them successfully.

Help him practice transitions at home. Do this as much as possible. This will make it easier for him to switch activities in more pressure-filled settings like school and sports.

What you can say

“Jacob, sometimes it seems really tough for you to stop watching TV and start doing your homework. Why don’t we set up a system that starts alerting you 15 minutes before you should begin doing your homework?”

“Maybe we could use your phone for this? We can program it so it starts buzzing every five minutes as a reminder that you need to get ready to switch gears. You can set whatever tone or jingle you want.”

“Or maybe you’d rather have me come to your room and wave at you? Or flick the lights off and on? Let’s think of a good way to signal you that it’s time to wind down, get out your school stuff and settle into homework mode.”

Why this will help

Practicing transitions can be particularly helpful for children with ADHD. These kids often have a difficult time switching from one activity to the next. They can become engrossed in a TV show or hyper-focused on having fun with their friends.

Finding subtle ways to give children a few minutes to wind down can help smooth transitions. When parents abruptly end the activity, this can lead to resistance and begging for more time.

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