This is one of the most crucial of all training techniques for children with ADD. Large tasks quickly overwhelm the child and he recoils with an emotional "I'll-NEVER-be-able- to-do-THAT" kind of response. By breaking the task down into manageable parts, each component looking small enough to be do-able, the child can sidestep the emotion of being overwhelmed. In general, these kids can do a lot more than they think they can. By breaking tasks down, the child can prove this to himself or herself. With small children, this can be extremely helpful in avoiding tantrums born of anticipatory frustration. And with older children, it can help them avoid the defeatist attitude that so often gets in their way. And it helps in many other ways, too. You should do it all the time.
Let yourself be playful, have fun, be unconventional, be flamboyant. Introduce novelty into the day. People with ADD love novelty. They respond to it with enthusiasm. It helps keep attention -- the kids' attention and yours as well. These children are full of life -- they love to play. And above all they hate being bored. So much of their "treatment" involves boring stuff like structure, schedules, lists, and rules, you want to show them that those things do not have to go hand in hand with being a boring person. Every once in a while, if you can let yourself be a little bit silly, that will help a lot.
Like a pot on the fire, ADD can boil over. You need to be able to reduce the heat in a hurry. The best way of dealing with chaos is to prevent it in the first place.
These kids live with so much failure, they need all the positive handling they can get. This point cannot be overemphasized: these children need and benefit from praise. They love encouragement. They drink it up and grow from it. And without it, they shrink and wither. Often the most devastating aspect of ADD is not the ADD itself, but the secondary damage done to self-esteem. So water these children well with encouragement and praise.
They often have problems with what Mel Levine calls "active working memory," the space available on your mind's table, so to speak. Any little tricks you can devise -- cues, rhymes, code and the like -- can help a great deal to enhance memory.
Since many ADD children learn better visually than by voice, if you can write what you're going to say as well as say it, that can be most helpful. This kind of structuring glues the ideas in place.
The simpler the verbiage the more likely it will be comprehended. And use colorful language. Like color-coding, the colorful language keeps attention.
Children with ADD tend to be poor self-observers. They often have no idea how they come across or how they have been behaving. Try to give them this information in a constructive way. Ask questions like, "Do you know what just happened?" or "How do you think you might have said that differently?" or "Why do you think that other girl looked sad when you said what you said?" Ask questions that promote self-observation.
Don't assume anything or leave anything to chance.
A point system is a possibility as part of behavior modification or a reward system for younger children. Many are little entrepreneurs.