The 5 Minute Warning Fail: Transitions are Hard for ADD/ADHD Kids

Posted December 1, 2010 by

My friend Cheryl over at A Little Bit Quirky recently wrote a post about the five minute warning and how it is often a cue for her child to engage in either a new activity or to intensify the interest in “whatever.”  I find that my son is exactly the same way.  For him, sometimes it is about the activity he is doing at the moment, sometimes it is almost a panic that he is NOT doing anything just then, and he just might lose out if he doesn’t start something “Right Now”.

Of course, with either the heightened intensity or the beginning of something new, there is no stopping at five minutes.  It’s almost as if he wants to get in as much as possible of whatever before he has to stop; even if it means starting something else.  I’ve tried the use of the timer, I’ve used a bell for incremental minutes passing, and even physical touch (his hand) at 3, 2, & 1 minutes.  What is odd is the intensity with which he engages, and then the intensity of the transition, can sometimes be twice as intense as a result 🙁

It happens with relationships, too. In preschool there was a little boy who sat at my son’s table all year, then when news came that he was moving, my son became obsessed with him, wanting to call him to play all the time, drawing him pictures, wanting to give him gifts, and he was tearful for days after the move. I tried not to encourage the intense focus, but didn’t want to squelch the friendship either as making a friend is so hard anyway. It was almost as if he was hoping his friend wouldn’t leave if he did all the “super friend” things friends do! 🙁  (Whaaa, that just occurred to me!)

Anyone else have little ones who have ever had difficulty with transitioning?!  Come on, ya know ya do!


Melody is a wife and mother of three beautiful children ages 9, 8, and 3 years, each with their own challenges. A certified teacher, now a stay-at-home mom and family daycare provider, her days are filled with activity that engage a tremendous measure of energy, stamina, and courage! Melody blogs at My Twisted Stitches and is also a parent blogger for Empowering Parents.

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