One surprising way to help manage your ADHD kid's energy – productively – is to keep them engaged and give them jobs.
Kids like to feel productive and that they are being helpful. Most kids really want to follow directions and be seen as a “good” kid.
But sadly, too often kids with ADHD feel quite the opposite – like they can never do anything right, and that they are always causing trouble. They feel “bad.” Not only are the adults re-directing them all the time, but other kids can find them annoying, too. They don't mean to cause trouble. But that energizer bunny inside of them is running on a non-stop battery, and sometimes they just can't help themselves. Channeling that energy into a “job” can have positive impacts for your kid and those around them!
"Jobs" for ADHD Kids?
In school, the best “errand runner” in the room is the kid with ADHD who is trying to pay attention but having a really hard time sitting in their seat. Ask teachers to let your child pass out the papers before an assignment, collect the workbooks, or take the attendance to the office. On the sports field, see if your child can be the catcher with something to “do” in the game, instead of hanging out in the outfield picking flowers or cloud-gazing.
At home, assign your child to be the “hopper” at dinner, the designated person to get the ketchup from the refrigerator, or extra napkins for the table. Or make your child the master scrambled egg maker or strawberry de-stemmer – even if they don't like scrambled eggs. Even better, enlist them to do heavy lifting jobs like carrying in the groceries.
Does Giving "Jobs" to Kids Really Manage ADHD Energy?
This strategy is effective for kids who struggle with hyperactivity, inattention, disorganization and emotional intensity. Everyone likes to feel that they are doing something productive, so give your ADHD kids a chance to see what “jobs” they CAN do, instead of focusing on what they can't.