If you have a child with ADHD, you’re probably more than familiar with the tantrums, power struggles, and overall chaos that ensues when trying to get them to participate in household chores. Their behavior caused by their ADHD symptoms often makes it feel easier to just throw in the towel when it comes to familial duties, but don’t give in!
Getting children to do their chores will never be easy, but you shouldn’t let ADHD get in the way. Here are a few chores that are geared towards helping ADHD children contribute to the household, learn life lessons while developing a sense of responsibility and independence.
Setting the table
Children with ADHD can be messy and disorganized a lot of the time, but they also have incredible focus and attention to detail once they set their minds on something. Setting the table is a great way to bring out and exercise your child’s mental concentration: from counting out silverware and plates to arranging them on the dinner table. The repetitive and mathematical nature of the task can help improve their memory and organization skills.
This duty is also better suited for ADHD children because it’s relatively short – since the entire process only takes around five to ten minutes, the risk of your child losing interest or attention in the chore is much smaller than when they are faced with a longer task.
Raking leaves or shoveling snow
This chore would be most effective with older children, but it is a learning opportunity for children of all ages and doubles as a fun and physical outdoor activity. When your ADHD child is going through periods of hyperactivity and can’t sit still, having them rake leaves in the fall (or shovel snow in the winter!) is a great way for them to put their boundless energy to use while also enjoying some fresh air and helping out the family.
To make the activity even more enjoyable, consider breaking the chore up with some other fun outdoor games. For example, maybe for every 20 minutes of raking or shoveling, your child gets ten minutes of playing outside. Small interval chores will help make long tasks more bearable for your ADHD child.
Taking out the trash
Taking out the trash is another way to put your child’s hyperactivity towards something productive. The short and sweet task is perfect for their short attention span, and you could even try turning the chore into a game or competition to make it even easier for your child to complete – for example, if they can take all the trash out in under ten minutes, they are rewarded with a special treat such as extra computer time.
It’s okay to use incentives to guide your child as they learn to complete chores, but make sure you’re still emphasizing the importance of self-responsibility and cooperation within your family. It’s important for them to understand that taking out the trash isn’t a game, but a normal part of everyday life.
There are many other ways to engage your ADHD child in chores. Consider tasks that involve relatively more movement and energy such as sweeping, vacuuming, and helping unload groceries. You’ll find that you have less luck with chores that require sitting for long periods of time (e.g., laundry, washing the dishes, and cleaning are less likely to hold their attention and focus). However, as they grow older and more accustomed to having household responsibilities, it will gradually become easier to introduce them to new and varied chores.
Chores are an important part of every household. Not only does it teach responsibility and independence in young children, ADHD or not, but successfully completing such tasks also builds self-esteem and confidence. When it comes to your ADHD child, having them learn to contribute to the family and hold specific responsibilities will dramatically benefit their future mental and social performance.