Chores: a concept that often insinuates torture, boredom, and those tedious tidying tasks. Every child dreads maintenance around the house, but there is no doubt chores are necessary for a child’s development. In a recent study conducted by University of Minnesota, the best predictor of a young adult’s success is how early the child starts to develop the discipline of doing chores.

However, children with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) don’t produce enough neurotransmitters to sustain focus to complete regular tasks, let alone dreary chores. Pediatricians believe that creating a sustainable routine of household chores is essential for your child’s development and IS possible. In a recent article written by Linda Karanzalis in Additude magazine, the author gives some great advice on how to motivate kids with special needs to do their chores. Try some of Karanzalis’ tips to turn this ‘chore war’ into an enjoyable and stimulating activity:

  1. Use a token system to manage behavior modification by giving your child a token for his or her good behavior. This system may also be used as a disciplinary method by taking away tokens after naughtiness.
  2. Rewards and consequences motivate your child to complete each task by including an incentive. Use a system like the token system to keep track of completed chores. A certain number of tokens or tasks completed may equal a new video game or extra playtime. Having something to look forward to will give the child a motivating factor to finish the chores quickly!
  3. Make sure to create and post a chore list for your child and set deadlines for each chore. Be consistent with your child, and make sure he or she follows through by reminding the child they must complete their task at hand.
  4. Do NOT change a plan set in stone, this only confuses the child and adds to the already short span of focus.
  5. Do NOT lose your temper. Make sure to stay strong in the midst of a meltdown, take a deep breath, and maintain power over the situation. Consistency is key, even in your own behavior and response to the situation.

Working with your children to create a chore environment that is stimulating, fascinating, and creative will enable your family to reap the benefits of a more cooperative atmosphere. Check out Woodburn Pediatric Clinic’s blog for more insight on creating a positive lifestyle for children with ADHD.