8 Strategies For Getting Instructions To Stick

Kids with ADHD have trouble focusing and sustaining attention, so while they may seem to understand the directions given in a moment, they don’t always seem to sink in. Often times, kids will hear the first direction and then become distracted therefore only completing a portion of what was asked of them. Check out these tips to help reduce frustration for everyone.

  • One step at a time.  Break multistep directions into smaller ones. Only provide the second step once the first one is completed and your child has reported back to you.
  • Use visuals. Write directions down on a white board for your child to refer back to.
  • Raise your voice the right way. Use the rise and fall in your voice dramatically to catch your child’s attention.


  • Try technology. A digital recorder can hold information to be played back at a later time.


  • Try checklists. Establishing a routine, especially for older students, can help them to assume more responsibility. They can check off items as they are completed.


  • Make a photo timeline. Using photos of routine (morning, bedtime) can give a child a reminder of what is expected.


  • Use rewards. A reward or token system that reinforces positive behavior can help children feel successful.


  • Redirect behavior. If you find your child becomes distracted while doing something you asked of them, try reminding them of what they were supposed to be doing rather than punishing.

Implement these easy tips into your routine to help ADHD kids retain information! What has worked for you?

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