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Children with ADHD often demonstrate hyperactive and impulsive symptoms. It is often mistaken as misbehaviour. ADHD symptoms also hinder effective communication between children and the family. If no support is offered, the symptoms may hinder them from having a school or social life. Parents are the closest authoritative figure to the children with ADHD. Hence, they play an important role in correcting hyperactive and impulsive behaviours and supporting children with ADHD.

Parenting Strategies to Build a healthy lifestyle for Children with ADHD

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1. Identification of ADHD symptoms and seeking help when necessary

i)  Check against the symptoms of ADHD

For more information, please refer to patient toolkit or online ADHD self-rating scales

ii)  Information to be noted before visiting the clinician

Before planning a visit to healthcare professionals, parents are advised to record the necessary information to facilitate the evaluation of conditions, which may include

a) Family history of similar conditions (if applicable),

b) Any signs or symptoms relevant stated on a regular basis (> 6 months),

c) Details of the present symptoms including description, severity, frequency, etc.

d) Information regarding performance at school, e.g.

    i.   Learning problems mentioned by teachers or homework completion

    ii.  Discipline and participation in class

    iii. Social situations (any close friends? Do they get into conflict easily?)

Other concerns with behavioural problems reported by school, or at home

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2. Prepare yourselves for taking care of your child with ADHD

i)  Never blame yourself

ADHD has been proven to be a brain-related disorder. ADHD is not a result of poor parenting or poor home environment. Instead of blaming yourself, you and the family can support your child with ADHD to live a better life. Each child is unique and having ADHD does not prevent your child from developing their strengths and interests. The Olympic athlete Michael Phelps was also diagnosed with ADHD in his childhood, yet he is now the record holder for winning the most gold medals at the Olympics.


ii)  Learn about ADHD

  • Parents should learn more about the disorder, e.g. diagnostic information, symptoms, treatments, and support, etc. You may wish to start with our toolkits for information and proceed to consult healthcare professionals.

  • Parents should mind that not all information found on the Internet is valid. Parents may consult psychiatrists or healthcare professionals when questions arise. One key message for beginners: ADHD currently has no cure but there are multiple ways to effectively control the symptoms and support your child. These measures, including behavioural intervention and medication, support your child to overcome various challenges and thrive.

Parenting tips in management of your child with ADHD

Keep instructions short, clear, organised and easy

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  • Your child is likely to be distractible, sometimes hyperactive and impulsive. You may try simplifying directions to facilitate communication with your child.

  • Avoid complex or inconsistent instructions. Unclear instructions may contribute to further organisation troubles for your child. Children with ADHD often perform poorly in ambiguous conditions without clear instructions.

  • For example, parents may instruct the child to complete a single task first before moving on to distribute other tasks.


  • Visual schedule at home to plan daily tasks.

  • Check understanding of your child by asking them to rephrase the task instructions.

  • Visual time reminders (e.g., timer) for tasks to keep your child on track.

Establish routines, rules, and acceptable behaviour in advance

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  • Daily timeslot for homework or revision

  • List of rules to follow at home e.g., put back the toys after playing.

  • Reminders can be printed out and stuck on the wall.

Discipline system to build positive behaviour and reducing negative behaviour

  • Set up a system that rewards desirable behaviour and gives consequences to misbehaviour.

  • Discipline system is considered to be an effective approach to modify the behaviour of your child with ADHD.

  • Furthermore, work with the other parties, including teachers and family for consistent ways of treating your child across settings.

Reasonable and clear expectations

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  • Know the limit of your child and don’t give over-demanding instructions. Reasonable expectations are useful in building up the self-esteem of your child as well as nurturing motivating learning. 

  • Avoid repetitive tasks way above or below their ability levels- give optimal challenges.

Break big tasks into small quick steps, allow alternative learning methods, provide Breaks

  • Parents may break tasks into multiple short tasks. Completion of short tasks gives the sense of success to your child and hence provides motivation to them.

  • Revise in multiple ways (e.g. pop-quiz/ child teaching parents/ incorporate in games) .

  • Give appropriate breaks between tasks, allow your child to run around or play games during break.

  • Ensure sufficient task time for your child.

  • May consider learning apps on tablets/computers to keep your child’s attention.

Get organised

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  • Create designated storage areas for materials at home.

  • Picture or demo on tidying the bedroom; clear working space when doing homework

  • Remind your child to refer to the student planner when packing their bag and completing assignments.

  • Follow the models for students’ work pace provided by teachers.

* Please refer to the Parent Toolkits for more information on management strategies.

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