Parenting a Child with ADHD: Tips for Forgetfulness

Forgetfulness is another common symptom of ADHD. This symptom causes significant disruption in children’s daily lives. Consider this example, you tell your child to go clean his/her room, but halfway there he has forgotten where he was going or what he planning to do. Although this may appear to be defiant behavior, it is more likely to be the result of forgetfulness. Children with ADHD experience a great deal of difficulty holding information and thoughts in their minds. Although we don’t know the root cause of this difficulty, it is likely due to working memory deficits. Working memory is the part of memory that we utilize when we are listening and trying to retain in our minds what we are hearing. Here are some tips that will help your child get through his day and manage forgetfulness.

  1. As a parent it is important to remind yourself that forgetfulness is a symptom of ADHD and is not purposeful non-compliance. This will help you be more patient with your child.
  2. Provide your child with short and clear instructions. You should provide your child with only one verbal instruction at a time. After this is successfully completed provide your child with another verbal instruction and so on, until the task is completed.
  3. When you give your child verbal instructions make sure that you are looking at them and that he is look at you.
  4. After providing your child with a verbal instruction it is important to ask him/her to repeat back the instruction you have given. This will help to clarify if he/she heard it correctly and assist him memorize the instruction by saying it out loud.
  5. Be sure to praise your child after he completes each task.
  6. Creating a to-do list, which outlines tasks that your child needs to complete and the order in which it needs to be completed can be very helpful. It is important to remember that to-do list should be age appropriate.
  7. Have your child cross off tasks as they are completed will give her/him a sense of accomplishment and control.
  8. Remember it is important to try an normalize your child’s forgetfulness by helping him realize that everyone experiences some difficulty with forgetfulness from time to time.

We offer counseling and social skills groups to help children cope with symptoms of ADHD. If you or someone you know would like more information contact our office at (503) 352-0240.

Yours in Health,

New Horizons Wellness Services
13333 SW 68th Pkwy,
Tigard, OR 97223


New Horizons Wellness Services provides a true multidisciplinary approach to mental & physical health treatments for children, adults and families.