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ADHD: Establishing Routines

One of the first steps in reducing household chaos is to establish routines. That means determining what situations occur regularly and then establishing a structure or sequence to be repeated every single day. Routines mean repetition and repetition means practice. Practice allows a child to become proficient (or at least better) at completing the basic requirements by himself. This is helpful to all children, essential for some.

The process for establishing a routine or changing a specific behavior requires answers to three questions: What do I want the child to do instead of what he is doing? How can I put it in a visual format so he doesn't have to rely on me telling him what to do? What will make it worth his while?

Quick Tip
To establish routines or change behaviors, answer these questions:

  • What do I want him to do instead of what he is doing?
  • How can I put it in a visual format so he doesn't have to rely on me telling him what to do?
  • What will make it worth his while?
Without an answer to all three questions you will have failed to clarify your expectations in a way that allows your child to check what you wanted and double-check his progress toward those expectations. A visual format gives him the ability to do that without you reminding him. Moreover, it provides the necessary incentive to keep him going.

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From From Chaos to Calm: Effective Parenting of Challenging Children with ADHD and Other Behavioral Problems by Janet E. Heininger and Sharon K. Weiss. Copyright 2001. Used by arrangement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

If you'd like to buy this book, click here or on the book cover. Get a 15% discount with the coupon code FENPARENT.


August 30, 2014



Keep it hot (or cold)! No one likes cold soup or warm, wilted salad. Use a thermos or ice pack in your child's lunch box to help keep his lunch fresh until it's time to eat.


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