How to Set Up a Behavioral Management Plan For Your ADHD Child

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Children who have been diagnosed with ADHD are much more likely than children who do not have ADHD to engage in non-compliant or destructive behaviors. Self-control, paying attention, listening to instructions at home and at school, and following directions will all be challenges for the child with ADHD. The characteristics of ADHD—hyperactivity, impulsivity, or inattention—only appear to exacerbate the negative behaviors that some children appear to be predisposed to develop. Parents often have to work full-time to control these bad behaviors.

A multi-faceted or multi-modal approach, also known as a comprehensive approach, is typically required for ADHD treatment. Support at school, medication if necessary, education about ADHD and its treatment for parents and children, and behavioral management strategies round out this strategy. Although establishing a good behavior management plan is not impossible and can be quite effective if done correctly, managing a child with ADHD’s negative behaviors can often seem like an overwhelming and daunting task.

In behavior modification, positive behaviors are rewarded with the intention of increasing their frequency; on the other hand, negative behaviors are discouraged with the intention of decreasing their frequency. A clear and concise behavior plan with measurable goals will help most children with ADHD.

How to create a plan for behavior management:

1.) Choose one bad habit that you want to get rid of and one good habit that you want to start or keep. I recommend that you begin by selecting a behavior that your child can begin to change and that they will be able to change. A child’s initial failures are not particularly motivating. Your child will immediately want to give up. Choose the behaviors you want to start or change, as well as the frequency with which they will be rewarded and when they will occur.)

You want to see the following behaviors started: your child consistently makes the bed, loads the dishwasher, arrives on time to dinner, or earns an A in math. Choose a behavior that can be carried out quickly at first.

Some examples of actions you want to stop are: refuses to get out of bed in the morning, talks back, refuses to finish homework, or interrupts other people when they are speaking. As parents, you are aware of the behaviors you want your child to start and stop.

2.) Second, to put your behavior management plan into action, set up a Home Token Economy. To begin, let’s define what a token economy is. A token economy is simply a contract between a child and their parents that says that the parents will trade in tokens for a specific reward or privilege if the child acts or behaves in a certain way.

Focus on a few goals at a time when setting up a token economy. Your behavior plan can be as short or as long as you like, but I’ve found that the more target behaviors a plan has and the more complicated it is, the less likely it is to work. Keep it simple and start small. Choose the actions that have the greatest impact on you and your child and the objectives that you would like your child to begin. While letting your child be a part of the behavior plan, don’t let them control you. Make sure that the behaviors that you want to see stopped and started are clearly stated. A child will typically put in more effort to achieve the goal when they become a part of the plan and can choose the rewards and consequences.

Give each behavior you want to start and stop a token value. Be careful not to attempt to alter too many behaviors simultaneously. Pick a value between one and twenty-five tokens. The value of the token needs to be high enough for you to really want your child to change the behavior in question for the plan to work. Everyone works for rewards! The behaviors that are more difficult to change and have a higher token value are the ones you really want to see changed.