Imagine that your brain literally hijacked the emotional part of yourself that helped you get started and stay focused. It keeps you from doing things you really want to do and often leaves you feeling distracted and frustrated. This is exactly what your girls with ADHD feel every single day. What works to motivate some kids are perfectly awful ways to motivate an ADHD brain!
Children with ADHD can’t rely on our memory and impulse management and need a little bit of help to do everything from making decisions and remembering things. After all, it is our brains that help us think, plan, and remember things. If you are a parent of a girl with ADHD, here are some ADHD motivation tips that just won’t work for girls with ADHD!
Avoid These Perfectly Awful Ways to Motivate an ADHD Brain
Whatever you do, try not to use these harmful motivation tactics with your ADHD girl!
Modify these tools to work with the needs of the girl you’re caring for, as not all girls with ADHD are alike.
Here are some of the ADHD essentials I use in our house:I used this Good behavior tracker to help my girls keep track of their emptions and feelings which helps them improve awareness and reduce impulsivness.
These brain break activities are perfect for girls with ADHD who are in elementary school. We used them between homework sessions.
Here are some things that my ADHD girls find helpful at home and in the classroom:
- Desk lamp (this one with storage is awesome and so is this cat storage lamp)
- ADHD-friendly planner
- Closed storage drawers
- Comfy chair (some kids also benefit from a wiggle chair, mine don’t, they just fall over)
- Weighted lap blanket
- Basic writing tools
- Task timer
- Non-distracting fidget toys
- ADHD sensory tools
- Large, simple calendar
- White noise machine
- Sticky arrow flags
Do Not Use these Unhelpful Motivation Strategies with Your ADHD Daughter!
We all fall into negative patterns from time to time, it’s all right, we are only human. But if you find yourself using these unhelpful strategies with your ADHD girl, stop and make a change right away!
Awful Motivation Strategy 1: Let your child’s anxiety compensate for their lack of focus
Anxiety has a nice benefit of often helping us increase our performance. It makes us move and take action because it causes our body to go into a fight or flight response. However, when we forget things that we aren’t focused on, our brain’s focus on those anxious thoughts.
Your child is trying to remember to put their homework into their backpack. It is all they are focusing on, but then her thoughts start to race as she remembers to unzip the bag and sees other things inside.
“What if I forgot this or that?” It is her anxiety that is putting her homework in the bag. Instead of being able to focus, children with ADHD have racing thoughts, worry, and pour gasoline on the fire when they feel motivated. This means that it can lead to exhaustion.
Awful Motivation Strategy 2: Let your kids do a different task instead of what they should be doing
Avoidance causes us to start to do something else, and usually this is one that is not nearly as important. This misdirection can calm their anxiety for a short time. However, then they temporarily forget what they didn’t want to do. Instead of doing the urgent homework assignments, they start doodling or find something else fun to do.
Letting your kids do this encourages procrastination which will cause them more anxiety and stress.
Awful Motivation Strategy 3: Catch yourself using those awful motivators
Doing things like time management and even daily tasks is hard for girls with ADHD. This is why we have to often retrain our brains to become aware of the “bad motivators” and why we as parents have to help do this for our children.
We have to look for patterns that they have when it comes to emotional tricks or reframe negative thoughts and feelings. It’s important to help them by helping them identify those feelings when we see them, and tell them when we notice it.
Helping your child with ADHD can be a challenge. It’s easy to see them doing these and think that they’re just trying to be self motivators. The reality is that these will usually lead to exhaustion and stress that isn’t good for them or yourself as a parent. Make sure that you identify when these are happening so you can make changes for both of you to do better.