Using a dry erase board, chalk board, or paper chart (easily seen as soon as the child enters their home), Saline suggests working with your child to map out an organizational flow of the day. “When your child comes home from school, for example, you have a list they can read that provides the sequence they should follow,” she said.
Saline said that for the average person, they don’t have to think through things like taking off their coat, placing it where it belongs, putting their lunchbox on the counter, getting a snack, and cleaning up. The chart can be set up for a number of routines, such as preparation for bed. “Hyperactive children tend to be very visual, even when they have difficulty reading. If your child can’t or is too young to read, use pictures,” said Saline. Another example is to have a “beginning of the day” chart that can be posted in the child’s room. “It’s a ‘do this first, do this second’ chart. That way you avoid the crisis that ensues when you are late for school,” she said.
She also suggested giving the child a marker or chalk to check off each activity as they work through the sequence.
Besides helping the child to be more organized, Saline said that children with hyperactivity disorders tend to be very anxious because they are always afraid of doing something wrong. Having visual cues helps the child to feel calmer.
Limit the use of electronics in the home
“Electronics (especially for the hyperactive child) are a diversion, not a purpose,” said Saline. Saline said that electronics tend to mesmerize the hyperactive child, putting them out of touch with their surroundings. “Hyperactive children need to have a variety of physical and creative processes. They need to have all five senses stimulated,” she said.
In particular, Saline especially warns away from allowing the child to play violent electronic games. “If a child has impulse-control challenges, violent games won’t help them develop appropriate behaviors in social settings,” said Saline.
Saline said that it is important to not try to do too many things at once. Rather, one should work on one challenge at a time, such as always putting belongings in the bin that’s intended for them. “Pick one thing, get success in that area, then try something else,” she said.