How Your ADHD Child Can Play and Live Better

In this special guest post by Caroline Maguire, ACCG, PCC, M.Ed. (author of Why Will No One Play with Me?) shares her advice for parents on how:

Your Child with ADHD Can Play Better and Live Better With Coaching: Learn How!

As a parent, you hear your child with ADHD revealing too much too soon to another child. You watch your teenager avoid reaching out to other teens. You notice your child seems immature and is laughing too long at jokes that are no longer funny. Or you notice your child can be irritable and appear rude. Children and teenagers with ADHD often struggle with self-awareness, self-regulation, and the ability to manage emotions that are crucial to social interactions.

You may be baffled, but you can help your child with ADHD change her social approach. With direct instruction and support, your child can work with you to develop better social skills. Why Will No One Play With Me? is your road map to learn how to talk to your child, coach her, and help her to develop these key life skills. After all, how often does self-advocating and communicating with teachers and peers come up in academics? Being able to fit in, collaborate with others, manage emotions, and make conversation are not just social skills—they are life skills.

Check Out My Top 5 Tips to Help Your Child Play Better and Improve Social Skills:

1. Open the Lines of Communication

Start by using more open-ended questions to open the conversation and make it more collaborative. Open-ended questions use the words who, what, when, where, how, and why. They ask, rather than tell. You can ask your child, What makes friendship hard? Who are you hanging out with these days? I notice you had a big reaction, what made you have that reaction? You need intel, and your child has it.

This communication style will allow for more collaborative discussions and help you to understand your child’s social dilemmas through his eyes and his own experience. Don’t assume you know why things are happening. When we assume, we miss so much. Any time your child balks at doing something you’ve suggested, ask, How come? Maybe it’s because he’s afraid of the unknown, or he remembers an experience that wasn’t pleasant.

2. Teach Your Child to Read Between the Lines—Games make learning more fun.

Play a game with your child. Make it a game to ask your child to interpret not what people say, but what they mean based on body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. If need be, prompt your child and share with her some ways to guess what the person means, such as, What does the person’s body signals and tone of voice tell us they are trying to say? What do we know about this person? Ask her to pick out a sharp tone in one party guest, someone at the mall who is angry but does not say she is angry or someone who uses sarcasm and ask her how she knows this is the case.

3. Teach Your Child Learn to Read the Room

Help your child learn to clue into social cues by playing a game with your child. Prompt your child to pick out two people in her family to observe and then to report back what their facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice are when they are angry, frustrated, nervous, or frightened. When you and your child are at a party, at a mall, engaging with your family, ask her what she sees. Ask her, What does that person’s body language mean? What information can you gather just from the person’s tone of voice? In every environment, there are social guidelines, meaning typical behavior that the situation calls for—they are the unspoken rules.

4. Help Your Child Improve His Self-Regulation 

Help your child learn what makes him too excited, lose control of his body, or become flooded with emotions. In the moment, guide your child to pinpoint what is going on inside his body and mind. These are signals that show him his current emotional state. Ask your child, Is there a particular topic that makes you experience a reaction? What happened before you got excited, or felt big emotions? Arm your child with calming strategies that you design with him collaboratively, so he is prepared in the heat of the moment to head off any signs of losing control.

5. Teach your child to engage in a “polite pretend”

The ability to fake interest or happiness and to be polite even when your child is hungry, tired, or bored is what I call a polite pretend. Begin by asking him some open-ended questions, How do you think your friend felt about your behavior? How do other people feel about how you treated them? What behavior does the situation call for? This will help your child think about his actions and why performing a polite pretend may be necessary rather than hurting other people’s feelings.

Bio

Caroline Maguire, ACCG, PCC, M.Ed. is a personal coach who works with children who struggle socially and the families who support them. She is a former coach for the Hallowell Center in Sudbury, MA. While with the Hallowell Center, Caroline was the primary coach for children and teenagers. Her groundbreaking book, Why Will No One Play With Me? teaches parents how to coach their children to develop and improve their social skills.

Follow her parenting advice and purchase the book at carolinemaguireauthor.com.

Learn about Coaching at the Hallowell Centers: NYC and Boston MetroWest

ADHD CollegeCORE Coaching program

Rebecca Shafir M.A.CCC – Speech/Language Pathologist and Executive Function coach,  Hallowell Center MetroWest, (978) 287- 0810 or (978) 255-1817

How can CollegeCORE Coaching Help You?

CollegeCORE Coaching (by phone, Skype or in person) helps high school upperclassmen and college students conquer the most common problems associated with ADHD or Executive Dysfunction. Rebecca provides effective, practical and non-medication solutions for getting things done well and on time. She has worked with ADHD students and entrepreneurs for over 20 years. Read more at www.MindfulCommunication.com.  Rebecca’s coaching and training approach builds the core skills and routines that enable success in school and greater marketability for the workplace.

CollegeCORE students will learn:

  • core skills and routines for managing anxiety and improving focus, follow through and communication;
  • to become more independent, and how to be the CEO of YOU, even if you don’t plan to be an entrepreneur;
  • basic organizational skills;
  • problem-solving skills;
  • note-taking skills;
  • more efficient study and test-taking skills;
  • why good sleep is a major ally for the ADHD student, sleep’s powerful role in learning and ways to improve sleep quality.
  • how exercise regimen best promotes clearer thinking and improved productivity;
  • learn how to apply Rebecca’s 80/20 approach for managing procrastination; and
  • finally, how to self-advocate – a competitive life skill.

How CollegeCore Coaching works:

The process begins with a complimentary 15-20 minute inquiry call with Rebecca. Call to set up that inquiry session (978) 287-0810 or (978) 255-1817. This is a brief discussion to answer questions about the program and to determine whether the CollegeCore coaching approach is appropriate for the student.

A 90 minute meeting (in person, Skype or phone) follows to get background information, identify personal strengths, establish personal objectives, deadlines (if imposed) for improvement, and to determine best approaches. $325.00

Based on that meeting, an action plan is created and the frequency of coaching sessions is determined. The goal is to identify the best starting point(s), select a couple small steps that are fairly easy to implement consistently that will yield some early and notable results. These new routines become habits.  Minor adjustments are made along the way. For some, the compound effect will work best, for others a multi-target approach is better. The process is customized to the student and his/her needs.

Coaching sessions are $150/hour, $75/30 minutes. Sessions may be 1-3x a week; duration and frequency is determined by Rebecca and the student. A spouse, partner or co-founder may also be involved, if desired. Progress is addressed at each session. As the gains become more consistent and the student more independent, the coaching sessions wind down. Check-in sessions are monthly or bi-monthly, then every six months or as needed.

To set up a CollegeCORE inquiry session or to make an appointment with Rebecca Shafir, contact the Hallowell Center BostonMetroWest in Sudbury MA at (978) 287-0810 or her West Newbury office (978) 255-1817 to schedule sessions in person or by phone or Skype. Sessions are $150/hr and may be reimbursable through your insurance.