Create opportunities for your child to use her talents and strengths. Look for household chores or family projects that your child can do within a short time frame and with relatively little frustration.
Come up with activities you feel confident your child will be able to complete. Experts often refer to these kinds of tasks as “low-hanging fruit.” Include some activities that are fun and noncompetitive, such as making birthday cards, playing catch or baking cookies.
Assist as needed by showing your child how to do the task or by giving her a photograph of the end result. Reward and praise your child for going through the process and for completing it.
What you can say
“Sofia, would you be willing to help me do some baking for Thanksgiving? The last time we made brownies, you did a very good job of following the directions and measuring out the ingredients. They were really yummy thanks to you.”
“We also could make lemon meringue cookies. That will be a new recipe for you, and it’s a little tricky. So let’s get the brownies done first. And, of course, you can do a taste test! Then we can tackle the cookies.”
Why this will help
Small victories can give kids a much-needed break from failure and frustration. Children with learning and attention issues have to “win” sometimes to stay motivated and to believe they can make progress academically and socially.
Succeeding in one area, even if it’s just doing simple chores at home, will help your child feel more confident about trying to tackle other areas such as school or social activities.
Successfully completing household chores will also help validate your child’s position within the family in general and with siblings in particular. By choosing a task you know she does well, and attaching value to it as a family, you create a “win” that can help her take more risks and recognize she has useful skills. Feeling needed can be almost as important sometimes as feeling loved.