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Goals and Behavioral Objectives for Preschool Children With ADD

By Erica Loop ; Updated June 13, 2017

The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that identifying and treating children with attention problems early on is key to achieving success later on in school. Creating your own goals and objectives for your preschooler with attention deficit disorder is essential in helping her overcome obstacles and flourish developmentally.

Strength-based Approach

Children with attention deficit disorders are more likely to succeed when their parents use a strength-based approach to child rearing, according to When setting goals and behavioral objectives for your preschooler with ADD, taking a positive approach is essential. Instead of focusing on what your little one can't do, set goals that center on what he can. For example, don't say, "Stop interrupting me when I'm on the phone," use the more positive approach of, "I like how you played with you doll when I was on the phone. I want you to continue that good behavior."

General School Behaviors

While you might primarily work with your child on her ADD symptoms at home, you will also need to set goals for her in-school behaviors. Although the disruptive behaviors of a child with attention-focusing problems can wreak havoc in a grade school classroom, these intrusive actions aren't only troubling in the kindergarten-plus years. Help your little learner's teacher out by setting positive, realistic goals for her school day. Work with the teacher to create age-appropriate goals that your child can achieve. Include general school rules that your child might struggle with. For example, set a goal for him of paying attention to the teacher for five or 10 minutes when she is reading a story.

Social Goals

Your preschooler's social skills are beginning to blossom from playing near other kids to making friends and engaging in cooperative play. If your child with ADD is struggling in his preschool's social circle, setting behavioral goals can help him to get along with his peers and ease classroom transitions. Look at where your child is struggling and create strength-based goals that center on what he can improve on. For example, if he constantly interrupts other kids' conversations or group play, set an objective for him to "Listen to his friends first." If he can't stand still long enough to wait his turn in line to wash his hands, tell him, "I like how you waited for your sister to wash her hands before you did. Let's do the same thing at school."


If your preschooler's ADD symptoms include aggression, you will need to put a stop to her behaviors. While hitting, biting and kicking aren't acceptable, these actions are of particular concern in the preschool environment. Although your little one's teacher might have a helpful hand in turning your child's behaviors around, she can't sit back and tolerate your child acting aggressively toward other classmates. Set finite objectives, adding in clear consequences for hitting or other violent actions and rewards for positive behaviors. For example, tell your child, "You will not use your hands when you get angry at school. If you do, your teacher will put you on timeout." Don't forget to praise and add in a reward for expected behaviors. If your child meets a specific objective -- such as going one week without hitting or shoving -- let her know she will be rewarded.

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