The ADHD Smarter Parenting’s Podcast

Ep #15: 5 ways to help ADHD kids refocus

July 2, 2019

One of the biggest questions we get is how to help ADHD kids focus. As a parent, it can be incredibly frustrating to have to give the same instruction over and over again. Or to watch them not be able to accomplish simple tasks because they’re constantly being distracted.

In episode 15, ADHD coach Siope Kinikini shares five different refocus activities for children with ADHD. These activities are things that require limited prep and are things that a child can do on their own to focus.

How to help a child with ADHD refocus is to understand what’s going in their brain. Children with ADHD often struggle with being able to think in terms of the future. They often think in terms of now. This means they are easily distracted by what is happening to them right that moment or what they want right now. Because of that, they have a hard time with delayed gratification. It is why your child's focus is always shifting as new “nows” are continually presenting themselves.

Because they have a short attention span, ADHD kids are easily prone to boredom which can be frustrating for them as they’re not able to be fully present to what is happening around them. It’s why it’s essential for them to have ADHD coping skills.

These five activities help ADHD kids focus.

Isometric exercises
Isometric exercises are activities that involve pushing or pulling movement and focusing on that movement. These exercises can be done sitting down or standing up. Some isometric exercises include pushing hands or knees together, or pushing your hands into a desk, table or your legs. There are tons of different isometric activities for children with ADHD

Stress ball or fidget toys
ADHD kids do well with tactile refocus activities. This includes things like stress balls or fidget spinners. You can easily make stress balls out of balloons and beans, rice, sugar. Etc. Just fill the balloon with the ingredient and tie it off.

Give them a challenge
This one is especially good for school time as a way to excite their brains so that they won’t be bored. The idea is to give them a challenge that would make doing a task more difficult which would require increased focus. For example, if they’re right-handed, have them write with their left hand. Once they have completed it, then have them switch to another challenge. The goal is for them to find small things that help them to refocus.

Mindfulness is a great way to focus for kids as it helps them reset by being aware of what their body is doing. Some mindfulness ideas are to close their eyes and take a deep breath. Or to count backward while breathing out.

Focus on a specific color or thing
This one is great as it turns focusing into a game. When your child starts to feel their attention slipping, have them close their eyes and pick on one thing to focus on when they open their eyes. This could be a color or an object.

The purpose of all these refocus strategies is to give a child a purpose in their distraction instead of being distracted by everything thing,

Being able to refocus gives your child power as they learn that they do have control over their body and their thoughts. We can't wait to hear how these were able to help ADHD kids focus better.

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