Quick Tip

ADHD Behavior Management – Is It All About Teaching Motivation?

behavior management

Teaching Your ADHD Kids Motivation

This is a common refrain at our house – sound familiar?

“Son, you look like you've lost focus. What do you need to do to get back on task?”

Wouldn't it be great if your son's behavior management was his responsibility, not yours?

Recently, my son's answer made me laugh with pride, “I need a motivator!” he said with a huge smile on his face. He quickly created an incentive for himself (something to do with ice cream I think) and finished his homework in record speed.

Motivation is a powerful tool for behavior management. We know that the ADHD brain needs to be motivated in order to maintain focus. It is powerful when our kids begin to understand the concept and create tools to help themselves.

How do you get there?

Article continues below...

Want to Motivate Kids?

Download a free tipsheet "The Parent's Guide to Motivating Your Complex Kid" to help your child find the motivation to do... anything and everything!

Tips for Teaching Motivation for ADHD Kids

Educate your kids about how their ADHD shows up, as early as you can, using terms they understand.

For example, you might say: “Honey, did you notice how fast you were able to clean your room when you knew that your favorite show is starting in 15 minutes? Your brain definitely focuses well when there is something you really want waiting at the other end. We'll have to remember that next time you're having a hard time staying on track.”

It might be helpful to share some information with them about your own motivators. They need to understand that we all need to motivate ourselves – it's not just an ADHD thing!

Have them begin to create their own motivators.

For example, you might say: “Sweetie, seems like you're having a hard time finishing your homework tonight. What reward can you put in place to motivate your brain?”

They may not know, at first, but it helps to get them thinking in that direction. Once they begin to see how they use motivators for things they like, they can begin to apply the skill to things they may not enjoy as much.

Instead of telling them what to do, encourage them to pull from a “tool-box” of tricks that you have both learned.

For example, you might sit down with them and create a list or a “box” that they can refer to. Offer to be their ‘scribe' to get it written down.

Next thing you know, they will be off and running – on their own! That should be motivation enough for the whole family!

More From ADHD Blog