Help your child see how the current task relates to things he’s done successfully in the past. Show him how the strategies he used then can be applied to what he’s working on now. Help him practice describing what he needs to do and which areas he needs help with to successfully complete the task.
What you can say
“Jacob, I know you’re going to do a great job at music class today. Remember to use your listening ears when Mr. Kelly is talking.”
“I know it’s hard for you to listen, but try your best and I know you can do it. Last week, when you listened to Mr. Kelly give directions, you had a great time. You sat close to Mr. Kelly, and that seemed to help you listen to his directions. Sitting near him will probably help you again this week. Tell me what you need to do at music class, OK?”
Why this will help
Kids with learning and attention issues often expect to fail. They focus on past defeats, not past successes.
But parents can do a lot to make sure children don’t lose sight of what they have already accomplished. Reminding your child about past successes—and which strategies were used to achieve those successes—can help him feel more confident and less anxious about trying new activities.
Encouraging your child to talk about past successes and explain what worked and why will help him apply those skills to similar tasks in the future. Coming up with a plan can also ease his frustration and help him get started, which is usually the hardest part. Getting your child into the habit of talking about these things will also help him learn how to express his needs more effectively.