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Fourth grader with ADHD wanting to be in band

My daughter is almost 10 and in 4th grade.  She is very determined to start new adventures but as soon as they come they go.  Right now she is adamant about joining band.  Which requires 2 days a week having to be at school by 7:15 when in the next couple of weeks i will be pushing her out the door as the bus is driving down the street at 7:40. 

I do not want to deny her of this opportunity to make new connections, opportunity to socialize, and to learn something new.  but i also do not want to pay a lot of money for all of us to be fighting over practicing and getting up in the morning.  I also dont want to have to “nag” her on one more thing she is to be responsible for.

We have seen this in other activities she has joined. Anyone else have a child with ADHD join band and succeed?  Fail? recommendations?

Replies

She won’t find things that she can stick to and become good at if she isn’t afforded the opportunity. Let her join, you can rent an instrument or borrow one. Make it clear that if she commits now, she is committing for the year and that her band members are counting on her.

Posted by Speduc8r on Sep 03, 2014 at 7:41pm

I struggle with this as well.  My daughter is the same age and sounds very similar.  Our big decision was about joining the local swim club.  She’s a great swimmer, loves to swim, needs the social component, etc.  but the practices are at 6pm.  Getting her out the door after she’s been home for a couple hours after school is actually harder than getting her out the door in the morning.  So despite all of the pluses in favor of swim club, we are not going to do it this term.  We are doing a lot of things to get our lives more orderly with routines, working with an educational therapist, hopefully starting on medication (she’s recently diagnosed).  She is actually starting with band this year too, but the practices are during school hours so we don’t have your battle with band specifically.  But we have chosen all of her after school activities based on not only what the activity is, but when.  If it isn’t immediately after school so that she goes directly to the activity from school, she’s not doing it this term.  We will re-evaluate next term, and also next fall.  I really relate to not wanting to take on one more thing for us to argue over or stress about. Thankfully I was able to discuss this with my daughter in a way that she understands and agrees with.  She realizes how hard it is for her to get up and out once she’s been home, so it wasn’t a fight like it sounds like you have on your hands.  I hope that helps in some way.

Posted by Labradorim on Sep 03, 2014 at 8:48pm

My son (ADHD) is in 7th grade and he’s been in band since 5th grade.  We started out renting an instrument at first, not knowing if he would stick with it.  He was 1st chair for saxophone for 5th and 6th grade concerts. This year he gets to be in the marching band and he loves that part. We have a small school, so they will take 7th graders for the high school marching band. He’s also been playing piano for the past 4 years now, so we already knew his aptitude for music.  His band practice is the last period of school, so we don’t have an issue with changing his start times for the day. 

If we don’t let them try new things, they will never know what they might enjoy and be good at.  Also, as you stated, it does give them a chance to make new friends who they would share common interests with. Just a warning, if your child is anything like mine, there will be a lot of whining in the beginning because it will be difficult.  You just have to remind her that it’s learning something new and yes, it will be a struggle in the beginning, just like learning anything new is.  But as she learns the songs, that’s when the fun begins, not to mention the pride they feel when they can actually play a song. That helps to boost their self-esteem as well. Most band kids have a real comradery among them so that helps our kids feel a part of a group, especially if they struggle to make friends.

Finally, make sure you give lots of praise and encouragement, no matter how her playing might sound in the beginning!

Posted by Machelle B on Sep 04, 2014 at 12:01pm

My son is also in the fourth grade and has played the cello since First. Since we left Arizona and moved to Ohio, he no longer participates in a school based orchestra program. Instead, he receives private lessons. Because I am a klutz and we have broken three of his cellos myself, we also rent with insurance. That means $$$$!
    I was told by his previous music teacher that my son has some musical aptitude. For instance, he has perfect pitch and was able to learn to read notes in a matter of weeks. 
    Because it costs so much money, I insist on daily practice. Here is the caveat. That means that I have to initiate the practice and stay close to make sure he actually does it. We also keep them short. Since he didn’t play all summer, we started at 10 minutes per day and have worked up to fifteen by adding a minute each week. We need to work up to 20, but that will take a few more weeks.
    My son is also about to start practice on his second musical. He’s in a pay for play situation. That means he gets a real part including a vocal solo. That also means, I have to make sure he learns it. Again, we have daily practice.
    Here is the reward. My son’s school music teacher was very very impressed that he performed Pachelbel’s cannon for the school talent show. It was four pages long. She even sent him a note thanking him for his effort and good playing. That made him feel good and motivated him to work harder.
    As far as the musical performance is concerned, he really enjoys participating and does a fairly good job. The bottom line is that it makes him feel good.
    What I am trying to say is that you need to decide if the benefits outweigh the costs for you and your daughter. For my son, the do, but music and performing is kind of his thing.
    If she’s gonna do it, you have to be involved, but so does she. Try it for a semester or a year. Since it isn’t free, insist on daily practice without complaining. If she really likes it she will eventually start to work on her own. Until then, expect to be involved.

I hope this information is helpful to you.
Sue H in PC, Ohio

Posted by SueH on Sep 04, 2014 at 1:30pm

Sometimes we get caught up in their energy of the moment and forget we can say “no”

I prefer to say maybe later, and it is hard not to give them every opportunity, but sometimes when you put them off you se what they are truly interested in.
God luck
Anna

Posted by Anna from toronto on Sep 06, 2014 at 1:05pm

My son is the same way, and very typical of an ADHD brain.  Novelty and high-interest gets them going, and then suddenly not interested at all.

I speak to the instructor/coach, etc. and let them know the potential possibility of dropping out and why before signing my son up.

This helps in two regards:  he gets extra support and positive reinforcement during the activity, and if he drops out, it is not completely unexpected, and I have my son tell them himself, with me being with him.

This has helped my son learn about himself, what commitments are and what it takes to fulfill them.

I have signed him up before, and the first day comes, and he refuses to go.  Again, he has to tell them himself.  I have found it is not worth forcing him.

Now when he tells me he doesn’t want to do something I think he would like, I respect that, and let him know the offer is open when he is ready.  This has worked.

Hopefully someday, he will find something he is passionate about and stick with it.  In the meantime, he is a “Renaissance Man.”  Good luck!

Posted by Pdxlaura on Sep 07, 2014 at 6:31pm

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