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Help At Home

Help At Home

Help At Home

How can we help inattentive children?

Increase his energy levels by having him do a short jog, laugh, do deep breathing, suck on a mint, or dance to loud music.

That means turning off music, as well as removing items from his homework space that move, chime, are glittery, or that give off strong odours.

Doing the same thing the same way at certain times of day can help children from forgetting tasks. Form a routine every day for packing lunch before school, returning the house key to a backpack after school. Doing these acts the same way daily creates the habit and they are much less likely to forget.

How can we help Impulsive children?

Helpful strategies:

Display rules and boundaries so children can clearly see what is expected of them. This can be used successfully in the home or school and can be used to help all children.  Examples are: ‘do not run in the house’, ‘clean your teeth before bed’, ‘do not shout at others’


Post a daily schedule so that children have a sense of control about their day.  It is helpful to talk in advance if there are going to be changes and tasks can be ticked off as they are completed.

Prepare for change

To avoid emotional dysregulation when moving between activities it can be helpful give your child a 5 minute warning, then a two minute warning, so that children have adequate time to stop their activity before moving onto something else.

Be prepared for impulsive reactions. In situations where a lack of structure or a change to what a child thought they were doing, might set off an impulsive reaction. It can be helpful have a plan ready to help children keep their impulses in check. You could have a favourite toy, fidget toy, book ready to distract and help regulate them or if you are somewhere like a supermarket, you can be give them  a special job, such as helping choose items for dinner or taking items off the shelf.

Younger children often respond to a “point system.” This is a system in which they earn pennies or stickers for a positive target behaviour. They can redeem their points at the end of the week for a prize.

Provide positive feedback. Be sure to also offer immediate, positive feedback and attention when impulsive children behave well. Catch them doing something good. Specifically, state what they are doing well, such as waiting their turn.

Helping them to understand

Impulsive children may have difficulty understanding what is expected of them. They need you to be specific, stating clear, consistent expectations and consequences. Telling your child to “be good” is too vague.  Instead, be explicit: “When we go into the shops please do not touch, just look with your eyes.” “At the playground, wait in line for the slide, and if it is difficult to wait tell me and we can find another item to play on.”

Other parents’ strategies:

“I face him, look into his eyes, put my hands on his shoulders, and reason with him about the consequences of his actions.” -Adrienne

“I tell my child to stop for two minutes and take deep breaths with me. This break allows him to restart the situation. This usually calms him down and gets him to take a different approach.” -Helen,

“I have a heart-to-heart with my children, and I explain that every action has consequences, and that they can choose actions that lead to positive consequences.” -Christine

“I put up my hand, as if it were a stop sign. It is a cue to stop and think — for both of us.” -Brenda

“I say, ‘Stop, just stop, look at me, and listen.’ I speak deliberately, using their middle names as well as their first names. Then they know it is important.” -Cassie

“I try to predict what situations she may face and warn her. Otherwise, I do not usually catch her in time!” -Cecilia

“I use empathy. I say, ‘Remember how you felt when…’” -Dee, Maine

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