Children with ADD/ADHD sometimes have a difficult time communicating with others. It may be because of low self-esteem or it could be that they have a hard time interpreting facial expressions other use. It may be that they are self conscious or they may have negative experiences in the past.
Whatever the reason, there are ways to help your child develop communication skills and have fun at the same time. Below are several games and activities that you can play together to help develop their ability to communicate and socialize with other children.
- Telling Stories. Cut out pictures from magazines and place them in a box. Take turns pulling out one picture and tell a story of what you think is happening in the picture. For older children, have the stories become more complicated. For younger children you can start with looking at the faces in the pictures and talking about what their facial expressions might tell you.
- Play Feeling Charades. Make up cards with as many different feelings as you can think of: Happy, Sad, Angry, Excited, Bored, Scared, Nervous, Unhappy, Tired, Pleased, Interested, Uninterested, etc. Each person takes a card and acts out the feeling without saying anything. This is great for those that may have a hard time reading facial expressions.
- Play Action Charades: Make up cards with as many action words as you can think of: Run, Jump, Walk, Hopped, Ran, Skipped, Hurried, Tiptoed, Stir, Stretched, Rolled, Hit, etc. Make other cards with sentences, such as: "The boy ____________ to his friend's house." Have each person take one card from each pile and put the sentence together to act it out. Have everyone else guess what they are doing.
- Use puppets. Sometimes children find it easier to talk if they are doing it through a puppet. Have a variety of puppets, some happy, some sad, some silly. Have your child use the appropriate puppet to tell you about their day.
- Role Playing. Make up cards with different activities. This can be geared toward whatever age or situation your child is currently going through. Cards can include: Playing with a friend, Sharing a toy, Arguing with a friend, Being the teacher, Being scared of something, Feeling left out, Going to a party, etc. Take turns playing the different people in the situation so that your child can get a feel for how all of the people may feel and look at situations from different points of view.
- Finish the Story. Use pictures from magazines and tell a short story about the picture. Stop the story so that your child can continue it and make their own ending. You can also use this with your child's books. Stop the story a few pages before it ends and ask them how they think it should end. Let them know there is no right or wrong way for it to end, each person might have a different ending.
- Picture Box. Use a shoe box and put pictures all around it on the outside of the box. Put a number on each picture and have cards inside the box with the numbers. Have your child choose a number from the box and then describe the picture. Have them give as many details as possible, who is in the picture, what are they doing, what else can you see, what shapes can they find in the picture, etc.
- How Do You Feel? Make up cards for feelings, for younger children, draw pictures and have them hanging up somewhere your child can reach. Several times during the day have them use the cards to let you know how they are feeling.
- Guess What Happened to Me!! Have a board where your child can keep memories of exciting things that have happened to them. For school age children, have them tell you one exciting or interesting thing that happened during the day and they can write the story or for younger ones, you can write the story. Keep the stories posted so they can go back over and see what has happened to them.
- Conversation Ball. If your child continuously interrupts during other people's conversations, use a conversation ball. During discussions, have the person that is talking hold onto a ball. No one else can speak. Once the first person is done, they hand the ball to the next person that wants to add to the conversation. Only the person holding the ball can speak.
The best part about these games is you get to teach your child valuable life skills while having fun and spending time together.