Is it ADHD or something else?

181: Increasing Motivation in Children with Attention Issues

This episode dives deep into a comprehensive understanding of strategies and insights aimed at empowering parents, educators, and caregivers to support children with attention problems.


Motivation is a fundamental aspect of a child's ability to succeed academically, socially, and personally. However, for children with attention problems, maintaining motivation can be a significant challenge. Various factors contribute to the low or decreasing motivation observed in these children, impacting their ability to engage effectively in tasks and activities.

If you're seeking ways to boost your child's motivation, you've come to the right place! This episode dives deep into a comprehensive understanding of strategies and insights aimed at empowering parents, educators, and caregivers to support children with attention problems. By understanding the relationship between attention, executive functioning, and motivation, individuals can gain valuable insights into the challenges faced by these children and the strategies that can effectively enhance their motivation and engagement.

Motivating kids with attention issues.

Addressing the crucial issue of increasing motivation in children with attention problems, such as ADHD, or those who exhibit similar challenges without a clinical diagnosis, requires a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between attention, executive functioning, and motivation. These cognitive processes are deeply interconnected, influencing each other in complex ways that impact a child's ability to engage with tasks and maintain focus.

Difficulties in attention and executive functioning can significantly affect their motivation levels and overall functioning in daily life. Therefore, it's important to delve into strategies that address these interconnected aspects of cognitive functioning to effectively support children in overcoming motivational barriers and achieving their full potential. Boosting children's motivation amidst constant technological engagement is indeed challenging. In today's digital age, where devices often dominate attention, fostering self-regulation becomes significant. Without the ability to manage their impulses and distractions, children may struggle to prioritize tasks or sustain attention on activities that require effort and focus. And so, teaching self-regulation techniques, such as mindfulness exercises or setting limits on screen time, can empower children to use technology more effectively and develop healthier habits for managing their attention.

By fostering self-regulation alongside motivation, parents and educators can equip children with the tools they need to thrive in an increasingly distracting environment and achieve success.

Motivation, executive functioning, and ADHD in children.

Executive functioning plays a pivotal role in motivation, serving as the brain's task manager, guiding us towards future goals and problem-solving. It involves cognitive processes, including planning, organization, time management, and impulse control, all of which are essential for maintaining motivation and achieving success in various areas of life.

Without adequate support and strategies to address these executive functioning deficits, children, particularly those with ADHD, may find it particularly challenging to sustain motivation over time. They may become easily distracted, have trouble prioritizing tasks, or experience difficulty in following through on goals, leading to frustration and feelings of inadequacy.

Parenting strategies for kids with low motivation.

Children thrive when they understand what is expected of them. And so, it is important to activate the visual parts of a child’s brain and ignite their intrinsic motivation because motivation isn’t solely about giving out commands to your children; it's about painting a vivid picture of the desired outcome. By shifting the focus from the steps involved to the tangible benefits of their actions, parents can empower their children to see tasks through to completion. Moreover, consistency is also important as it provides a sense of stability and predictability for children.

Consistency in parenting builds trust between parents and children. When parents consistently follow through on their promises and consequences, children learn to trust their parents' words and actions. This trust forms the foundation of a healthy parent-child relationship built on mutual respect. It is also crucial to understand the unique needs of children with clinical or mental health issues as they may require additional support and accommodations to thrive.

Incorporating hands-on, interactive learning experiences tailored to family priorities can further enhance motivation and engagement. For instance, involving children in meal preparation not only promotes essential life skills but also fosters a sense of ownership and participation in family rituals.

Reinforcing and rewarding children with executive functioning challenges.

Providing reinforcement for tasks that lack inherent interest can be necessary. To reinforce and reward children struggling with executive functioning and attention issues, it's crucial to understand what motivates them. Some children can focus when tasks are stimulating or interesting, while others may struggle with transitions and non-preferred activities.

And so, prioritizing tasks and making expectations clear through visual aids greatly help children understand what is important. Additionally, ensuring children have ample opportunities for physical activity and sensory stimulation is vital as movement and sensory activities not only support overall well-being but also improve attention and focus.

In fact, research shows that regular exercise can significantly reduce attention problems insofar as engaging in physical activity increases blood flow to the brain, delivering oxygen and nutrients that are essential for optimal cognitive function. It also triggers the release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, which are known to play a key role in regulating mood and attention.

Parenting strategies for building resilience in children.

Children need autonomy and opportunities to experience failure and build resilience. An overly protective approach, often termed “bubble wrap parenting,” can hinder their ability to develop coping skills. By allowing children to experience failures, solve problems, and take risks, parents empower their children for future success.

Encouraging children to take on challenges independently fosters a sense of self-reliance and confidence in their abilities. When parents step back and allow their children to deal with challenges on their own, they learn valuable lessons about perseverance and problem-solving. These experiences help children develop a growth mindset, understanding that setbacks are a natural part of learning and growth. It must be noted, however, that consistency in implementing parenting strategies is key to facilitating meaningful change in children's behavior and mindset. Ultimately, fostering motivation in children requires a holistic approach that values autonomy, resilience, and the development of coping skills.

Looking to delve deeper into ADHD? Explore these additional resources:
●      ADHD Add Treatment
●      ADHD Treatments for Children
●      ADHDkit

Is your child struggling with attention and executive functioning skills? Learn how to get your kid to listen and finish tasks in 30 days without the constant nagging and fighting. Get the Dr. Roseann's Parenting Toolkit for only $47 today!

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➡️ Join our FREE Natural Parenting Community to receive science-backed resources for your child and family. Join here.

➡️ Get help from Dr. Roseann and her team. Apply here. 

➡️ “Is it ADHD or something else?” Take the quiz. 

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147 Therapist-Endorsed

Self-Regulation Strategies

for Children

A Practical Guide For Parents

147 therapist endorsed self-regulation strategies for children a practical guide for parents
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