Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Encourage the buddy system.

What you can do

Help your child identify a classmate who can move from task to task with ease. Talk about how your child can watch that friend for clues on when and how to wrap up a task in a timely fashion. Good candidates might be lab partners or members of a study group.

You can also help establish a “go-to” adult at school. Choose someone your child trusts and relates with. It might be a counselor, homeroom teacher, coach or art teacher. Encourage your child to get guidance from that person on where to go or what to do next.

What you can say

“Here’s an idea, Jacob. Your friend Rashan seems to be really good at making transitions in school. Since he’s in all your classes, you can ask him to come up with a signal to help you know when it’s time to move on to the next activity.”

“This signal can be subtle, something no one else will notice. Can you think of something that could work at school? Maybe he could pick up his hat and put it on his desk. That kind of motion would be easy for you to see.”

Why this will help

Children with learning and attention issues, and in particular tweens and teens with ADHD, spend a lot of time and energy trying to navigate the many transitions that take place during each school day.

Watching someone closely or receiving signals can help your child transition more easily. A buddy system can relieve anxiety. It can also help your child develop routines and improve his focus in class.

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