Why effective planning is important
Children with ADHD may exhibit more disorganised behaviour than children without ADHD. Their impulsiveness means that planning ahead can be a struggle and everyday tasks, such as following family routines, can be difficult.
Investing time in developing routines may help a child with ADHD to organise, plan and remember everyday things. Planning helps children to know what is expected of them and can help reduce stress within the home and at school.
Creating a management plan at home
Consider creating a plan to help your child be more organised in the home.
Plan the plan
Make a list of the different tasks that are part of the child’s school day routine
Make the plan fun
Use colour-coding and pictures to make the plan clear
Show the plan
Put the plan somewhere obvious and accessible to the child
Be specific: break tasks into steps
Make it easier by breaking big tasks down into manageable steps. Explain that one step should be completed before moving on.
Reward what the child has achieved
Consider the use of rewards if the child is sticking to the plan
Keep reviewing and assessing the plan
Where the child consistently does not carry out a task successfully or on time, think about what you can do to help them or change the plan
Getting ready for school
You can use this tool with a child to show the tasks they need to complete to get ready for school.
Creating a management plan at school
Creating a plan for children with ADHD at school will involve discussions between the parents/carers and the teacher. Some points to consider:
Can the child sit in the same place in each classroom?
Can their seat be away from distractions, for example away from the door or window?
Does the child have enough time to get from class to class and settle in?
Are there clear boundaries and consequences for unacceptable behaviour?
These discussion guides help teachers, parents and carers to discuss and agree a management plan for a child.
At home and school, it is important to set boundaries, making clear:
- What behaviour is expected
- What behaviour is unwanted
- What the rewards will be for wanted behaviour
- What the consequences will be for unwanted behaviour.
This may require a lot of patience, as it may take some time before wanted behaviours become part of the child’s day-to-day habits. Moreover, there will be many potential `triggers’ in the day that may lead to unwanted behaviour.
A management plan can help the child to understand that:
- Their behaviour is a choice
- How they choose to behave can result in rewards or consequences.
In this example, there are three steps for the child to understand about dealing with a problem:
- Take a deep breath
- Try to calm down.
- What can I do about this problem?
- What are my choices?
- What will happen with each choice?
- What’s the best thing for me to do now?
- What will give me what I want, without bad consequences?
Using these three steps, here is a typical situation.