10 Effective Tips on How to Discipline a Child with ADHD

how to discipline a child with adhd

Children with ADHD tend to get into trouble more easily because they have trouble with focus, motivation, managing their impulses and following directions. So, how do you discipline a child with ADHD? What parenting approach should you take to help them manage their behaviors and help them achieve their best at school?

Our team of experts at Forbrain have gathered the ten most effective techniques and strategies for disciplining ADHD kids that you can start using right now alongside the Forbrain headset.

These include:

Tip 1: Set clear expectations

Tip 2: Use logical consequences

Tip 3: Be consistent

Tip 4: Give your ADHD child a structured routine

Tip 5: Use positive reinforcement

Tip 6: Be patient

Tip 7: Celebrate their wins

Tip 8: Use visual aids

Tip 9: Try different approaches

Tip 10: Practice self-care

Keep reading to find out how to discipline an ADHD child with love and care.

Tip 1: Set Clear Expectations

Disciplining a child with ADHD is much easier when you get clear on your family rules and expectations beforehand. Once you’ve done this, make sure the entire family knows what they are and the consequences that will be enforced if they don’t stick to the rules.

When you do this, your ADHD child will understand exactly what they need to do, they’ll be less likely to procrastinate or engage in challenging behaviors, and will be less likely to feel frustrated, confused, or angry.

Get clear on the behaviors you wish to see from your ADHD child (including chores and homework), using simple language and breaking tasks into smaller, more manageable steps then display these rules somewhere visible so your child is much more likely to succeed.

Tip 2: Use Logical Consequences

Does your ADHD child have trouble sticking to your rules, thinking about consequences, is highly impulsive or struggles to sit still? One excellent ADHD discipline trick is to use logical consequences instead of punishment, the disciplined approach that highlights the natural results of your child’s actions.

For example, if your child refuses to stop playing to eat lunch, take the lunch away. If they refuse to put their dirty laundry in the basket, don’t wash them, and so on. The logical consequence of these behaviors is that your child will go to bed hungry or won’t have clean clothes to wear.

This ADHD discipline approach works fantastically because it doesn’t punish the behaviors that your child may not have control over and won’t trigger the same emotional reaction, while still helping them improve their self-organization, ability to follow directions and independence.

Tip 3: Be Consistent

Whenever your ADHD child breaks the rules or doesn’t meet your expectations, make sure you follow through with those consequences each and every time.

Don’t ever ignore behavior because you’re stressed, busy or it’s not the best time. If you do, you’ll only make your child feel less secure, more anxious, and less aware of the consequences of their actions.

ADHD children can struggle at times with understanding the consequences of their actions so consider giving them warnings and reminders of what will happen if they don’t comply with the rules.

Tip 4: Give Your ADHD Child a Structured Routine

ADHD children thrive when their daily or weekly schedule is clearly outlined with designated times for meals, activities, homework and even bedtimes. Because they know what to expect from their day, they’ll feel less anxious and will find it easier to focus and stay organized.

Find a pen and paper or use a digital scheduling app designed for ADHD kids like Joon and outline exactly what each day will look like, including times for each activity. For best results, make their schedule visually appealing using color, different fonts and even pictures if you are the artistic type!

Tip 5: Use positive reinforcement

When it comes to disciplining ADHD children, it’s best to shift your focus towards their positive behaviors and praise them accordingly.

Did they complete their homework without complaint? Or remember to put their dirty clothes in the laundry basket? If so, tell them how proud you are, mentioning exactly what they did and why it’s so good.

By doing this, you’ll give them a well-deserved dopamine boost that will increase the chances of them repeating more positive behaviors, especially if it means extra praise from you!

When they do behave in a more challenging way, try to be gentle with them and take time to understand. After all, many of their behaviors like restlessness and lack of focus aren’t their choice but a symptom of their ADHD.

Instead of disciplining your ADHD child harshly, try asking them, “I can see that your ADHD brain makes it hard for you to focus on doing your math. That must be so frustrating and tricky. Do you think there’s a way you can help it to stay still and focus when you need it to?”

Tip 6: Be patient

Whenever your ADHD struggles with their symptoms or starts to behave in a challenging way, avoid getting angry. It won’t help you or your child and will often lead to tears, confrontation, and misunderstanding.

Instead, take a deep breath, stay calm and focus on correcting the behavior instead of shouting in frustration. You’ll feel less stressed, your child will feel more secure, and you’ll be more likely to see positive behavior from your ADHD child in the future.

Tip 7: Celebrate their wins

When your ADHD child triumphs by raising their grades, cleaning up after themselves, looking after someone else, being kind or making any other good decision, make sure you give them plenty of praise and even consider giving them a reward such as extra time on the trampoline, a small treat or even a hug.

More than just an ADHD discipline technique, this helps to ease your child’s sense of being ‘wrong’, boosts their self-esteem, and reminds them that you love and care for them, even if you have to point out their ‘mistakes’ from time to time.

Your ADHD child will benefit enormously from the praise, you’ll reinforce your bond, and they will be more likely to try harder next time because they believe in themselves more. 

Tip 8: Use visual aids

Struggling to keep your ADHD child focused on what they need to do and prevent them from procrastination or forgetfulness?

Try using visual aids like charts, calendars, posters, or schedules. This highly effective ADHD discipline technique works well for the highly visual ADHD brain, especially if you use plenty of color, different fonts and images or pictures.

By creating these, you’ll help guide your child towards more positive behaviors like remembering to do their homework, instead of needing to punish them or enforce those consequences. It’s a win-win!

Tip 9: Try different approaches

Forget what you read in those parenting books! Kids with ADHD need a different approach to discipline from the traditional and, what works for one might not work for the other.

Instead of following a one-size-fits-all approach, stay flexible and be willing to experiment to find out what works for your unique child.

Tip 10: Practice self-care

Disciplining a child with ADHD can be emotionally draining, challenging, and frustrating and can soon take its toll on your mental and physical health if you don’t get it in check.

For that reason, make sure you’re taking care of yourself by getting plenty of sleep, eating well, exercising, and resting when you need to so you can be the best parent or educator you can.

If you’re struggling, collaborate with therapists and professionals to ensure you both have the support you need to thrive.

Using Forbrain for ADHD

Forbrain is a technologically advanced divide designed to improve auditory processing and sensory integration, both challenges that ADHD children usually face.

When used for just 10-20 minutes per day for a few weeks, it strengthens those neural pathways associated with memory, self-regulation, focus and language development. This helps you discipline your ADHD child, reduce their distractibility and impulsivity, and makes it easier for them to fulfill their potential, despite the unique challenges they face.

Include Forbain in your daily routine and you’ll see a big change in your child’s behavior.

Final Words

Disciplining a child with ADHD can be frustrating because of the additional challenges they face.

However, by understanding the unique challenges they face, staying calm, setting clear rules, expectations and consequences in place, you can discipline your ADHD child more effectively.

Try the tips we’ve shared here alongside our therapist approved Forbrain headset, remember to take care of yourself too and stay flexible. You’ll soon see a significant improvement in your ADHD child’s challenging behavior.


ScienceDaily. (2016, June 2). The rules of the game for children with ADHD. ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160602083556.htm

B;, R. J. G. (n.d.). The role of logical consequences in adolescents’ cognitive precursors of compliance and Internalization. Journal of experimental child psychology. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31958666/

B;, R. J. G. (n.d.). The role of logical consequences in adolescents’ cognitive precursors of compliance and Internalization. Journal of experimental child psychology. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31958666/

(PDF) child routines and parental adjustment as correlates of … (n.d.-b). Read more.

ScienceDaily. (2016a, June 2). The rules of the game for children with ADHD. ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160602083556.htm

Myers, R., Taurus, Rowden, D., Sk, & Wolfenden, R. (2021, May 6). Effective consequences for ADHD kids. Empowering Parents. https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/effective-consequences-for-adhd-kids/

Charlotte Witts

Charlotte is a linguistics graduate, ESL teacher and parent of a teenager with ADHD. She’s passionate about sharing her expertise in speech therapy, ADHD, and language acquisition so everyone can reach their full potential.