Procrastination in ADHD children

Work has to be broken down in smaller segments for these children. They get overwhelmed easily if loaded with a lot of work at a time and would try and avoid doing it. Hence it’s a best strategy to present them work in small portions, two question at a time should be the rule.

It’s always helpful if the study time begins with something easy which the child can accomplish successfully. Reinforce this success by praising the child or providing some incentive and then later introduce things that are more difficult. Reinforcement will encourage and boost motivation to accomplish things.

Any ADHD child depending on the severity of their disability finds it hard to focus for a long period of time. Their attention span at any given time does not exceed 10 to 15 minutes. Hence an ADHD child cannot be expected to sit through one hour of study time with out moving or leaving their seats. The study time should include frequent movement breaks after every 15 minutes as allowing them to move will help them focus better for next 15 minutes of study time.

Placing a stop watch or timer on the desk will help these children to work within the time frame. The stop watch provides challenge and limited time to initiate and complete work timely fashion.

ADHD have a lot of stored up physical energy, by moving and running around their brain tries to focus on things. If they are stopped from moving they find it hard to process information. Hence ADHD children should have some structured physical activity in their daily schedule. Their study time should always follow after doing some physical exercises as this gives an outlet to their physical energy and will help them focus better. Swimming, biking, gym etc are some of the examples.

Majority of children with ADHD are kinesthetic learners. They have tremendous physical energy and learn physical tasks easily. Hence the following strategies can be helpful for them to avoid procrastination:

They like learning when provided with hands on learning opportunities.
They learn well on field trip, with models, or real life objects, when they can actually, smell, touch, feel and see what is being referred to in words.
Make learning experiences as concrete and as relevant as possible.
Teach and review things in active game like way, where they can be up and moving, visually alert and challenged.
Provide opportunities for them to learn and express what they have learned that involve more than listening and speaking.
Encourage them to play with clay or straw when listening or studying as by fidgeting with something in hand helps them to focus better.
Encourage them to use a rocking chair or moving and standing as this may increase their ability to concentrate.
Allow them to do their work on black boards as standing and doing work will help them to focus.

And lastly encourage these children to pray five times consistently, as praying will improve their concentration and provides a structured schedule to the day and help flexibly change focus from one task to another.


Massrat Shaikh,
Educational Psychologist.

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Procrastination in ADHD Children


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