“PUT YOUR DISHES IN THE SINK!”
Yes, it is totally bad to yell at your kids. Especially over neglecting to clear their dishes from the table. I failed the Stop Yelling challenge at least 5 times today.
I am going crazy because I tell my kids with ADHD to do something a million times, and they don’t listen. I feel invisible except when they want food.
If the sweet scent of brownies wafts through out the house, you better believe they listen to me THE.FIRST.TIME when I tell them to sit at the table.
There is no excuse for me to have lazy listeners because I know the right way to help my children listen better.
I don’t need to tell them a million times, and then get fed up and scream at them. But I am human, and when I am tired or overwhelmed I neglect to use all my tricks in my parenting tool belt.
Several professionals taught me this amazing parenting strategy of how to get your kids to listen better to directions.
My kids have special needs, so we receive lots of advice from the experts who provide therapy for my kids. Now, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars in therapy to learn it.
It works. Not all of the time but most of the time.
And it benefits most my two children with severe ADHD.
How To Get Your Child with ADHD to Listen Better
Let’s go back to the kitchen table and rewind to the time before I yelled.
We finished eating dinner, and my kids need to clear their dishes and put them in the sink.
I stay at the table and make sure they are paying attention to me.
I give the direction, “Please, put your dishes in the sink.”
Say a simple one step direction.
Children with ADHD struggle more following more than one direction at a time because of poor working memory due to delays in executive functioning skills.
I stay within line of sight from my kids to make sure they follow the direction. If I go out of the room to do something else, most likely they will not listen to me. In fact, if I preoccupy myself with something else in the same room, chances are more likely they won’t comply. I pay attention to my children to see if they follow the direction.
I remain silent after giving the direction.
And this is where 10 seconds comes in.
I count in my head to 10.
Not aloud because I guarantee you your kid is going to wait until number 9 until they start moving. And that’s when your face gets hot and your jaw clenches because your child is not listening to you right away yet again. And by 10 you are yelling at your kid.
So why count to 10?
Haven’t we been told kids should listen by 1,2,3?
Yup, but not so helpful for kids with ADHD. Most kids with ADHD have slower brain processing. It takes their brains more time to process the verbal direction, and then carry out the action necessary to follow the direction.
Also, counting to 10 helps you to focus on keeping the children on task to follow the direction quickly the first time it is given.
Complying after a couple of minutes does not count as quickly.
If your child listens the first time within 10 seconds, fantastic.
Praise your child.
Kids unfamiliar with this way of giving directions are less likely to listen the first time.
If your child is noncompliant after 10 seconds have passed, you say calmly, “This is your warning to put your dishes in the sink.”
Again wait 10 more seconds.
What you do next will differ because each family has their own values regarding the use of consequences. Different children respond differently to consequences. I have one child who does not respond well at all to negative consequences. This child has the inability to cope with the stress of them. This child still benefits with me waiting 10 seconds for compliance, but I don’t give a negative consequence for non compliance for this child.
But my two of mine learn well with the following strategy.
If a child listens, I say, “Thank you for putting your dishes in the sink.”
If a child still does not comply, I tell them to sit in a short time out.
Yes, time outs are frowned on by a lot of parents, and I agree they aren’t right for every child.
It helps my children with extreme ADHD to sit in one spot for a short time to be able to refocus. Sitting in time out does not greatly upset them, it is a time for them to calm their minds and bodies. It resets them.
Once they have sat calmly for a few minutes, I start over with the direction, “Please put your dishes in the sink.”
Two of mine almost always listen after the time out. I don’t have to use time out very often because this way of delivering directions makes it easier for them to listen.
You don’t not need to use time outs to benefit from the 10 second pause.
Simply giving a simple, clear direction, waiting attentively, and counting to 10 seconds in your mind will increase the chances your child with ADHD will listen the very first time.
Try the 10 Second Pause at home.
Not only do you have a trick to help your children with ADHD listen better to directions, it will help you be a calmer parent who yells less at your kids.
Read More About Parenting a Child with ADHD