If you suspect your child has ADD, or if he’s already been diagnosed, don’t give him medication unless you and your physician believe it’s absolutely necessary.
There are many other strategies you can try first. If he’s in day care, look for programs with more flexible schedules. Limit TV, video games, and computer time; instead spend more time with him, playing together and paying attention to his interests. Highlight his capabilities, nurture his curiosity, and give him opportunities to initiate activities. Slow down, let him finish what he starts, and don’t stress cleanup over discovery and creativity.
You also need to make discipline a priority. Set clear limits on his inappropriate behavior, follow through with consequences, and redirect him toward positive activities. Look for underlying reasons for his misbehavior. Help him learn to control his impulses, and consistently teach him right from wrong.
All children have some trouble concentrating and need prompting and reminders, especially when they’d rather be doing something else. If your child shows ADD-like behavior, it will take time for him to learn to focus on important tasks. But with your involvement and patience and his teachers’ cooperation, he should eventually be able to follow directions and pay attention, without needing medication.