Patience, Perseverance, Payoff

Whoever coined the phrase “patience is a virtue,” must’ve parented a child with ADHD.

We’re keeping learning going this summer on weekends. We keep it chill – a bit of language, math, writing practice, and physical activity.

Once T gets his checkmarks, he gets free time and other rewards the rest of the day.

Among our learning tools, we’re completing the Complete Canadian Curriculum: Grade 1 workbook, which covers math, language, science and social studies.

So let’s talk about worksheets – and completing them with a child diagnosed with ADHD.

Let’s take this example of a worksheet about ordering numbers from least to greatest – left page above.

I thought this would be a breeze, because T is good with numbers – and has done similar activities in class this year.

We start with question 1. “So T, what’s a smallest number in 5, 13 and 9?”

T’s immediate reaction is to start pointing to other questions on the page.

I ask him to focus on this question.

“What’s the smallest number?”


“Ok, great T. What’s the next number in order?”

He then points to the cat on the bottom right of the page and asks what the cat is doing.

“What’s the next smallest number?”

“This one?” T asks, pointing to another set of numbers in another question.

“No, 5, 13 and 6. 5 is the smallest. Which number is the next smallest number?”

“I want to get Moo Moo and Ladybug,” he says, getting up to get his stuffed animals.

He comes back and sits downs. I remind him what the question is.

I take a deep breath. Sensing my impatience, T brings his stuffed cow to my face. “Moo Moo wants to kiss you.”

“What’s the number?” I remind T of the task.

“I love you, Papa,” he says, reaching out to give me a hug.

I laugh out loud, as I hug and kiss him. “You are so frustrating sometimes. Just answer the question!”


“That’s great! And that means the largest number is…”

“13,” he says.

We make slow progress on the remaining questions, with several more tangents.

I’ll be able to collect my old age pension by the time we finish this worksheet, I thought.

T actually asks me at one point, “Is it going to be Christmas soon?”

Without skipping a beat, I replied, “It will be, at the rate we’re moving!”

This may seem comical – and to be honest, it was kinda funny – but these moments reinforce to me the challenges T will have as he enters a more structured environment in Grade 1.

The good news is I do think he understands these concepts, but getting him to focus his very busy mind is a work in progress.

It’s hard to tell on some days whether the ADHD medication we started him on last summer is making a difference. The hubby disagrees but I do notice a big difference when he’s not on it.

But we persevere in a few ways:

We try to remind him what he’s working for. Providing T with the incentives of earning checkmarks and a reward, such as time on the Nintendo Switch, makes a difference.

We try to break the task into smaller chunks. We try to remind him to focus on one question at a time. I can see why a busy two-page worksheet spread can set him off on a hundred tangents.

We play along with his quirks. If he wants Moo Moo and Ladybug to learn with him, so be it. His stuffed animals are on their way to PHDs!

We try to have a sense of humour. It is so laugh out loud frustrating sometimes when he’s so distracted, but we know he is not doing it on purpose. So we try to focus on the bigger picture: his incremental learning and growth.

Lastly, we go over the top with celebrating his completion, because he does get to the finish line and that’s the most important thing.

The payoffs motivate T. We see his proud look, his sense of accomplishment, and we see him understanding the connection between doing the work and the reward.

I hope his momentum keeps up, because it feels promising.

This past Saturday, T’s reward was a trip to the mall. We picked up glasses the hubby ordered and we went to look at glasses for T and I.

It was our first time at the mall in a year, not counting the times we went to get vaccinated.

Things are slowly opening up in our province. It almost felt normal until we saw the lineups outside each store, the limited store capacity and all the signage on the floors…

And the benches.

T smelled the sweet aroma of popcorn from Kernels and asked for a bag.

We told him that since he did a great job completing his learning work that morning, he could get a small bag of his flavour of choice.

The hubby and I rewarded ourselves bubble tea, the first time in I don’t even remember how long since we’ve ordered bubble tea from a store!

After we got home, we quickly changed into swim clothes for a late afternoon swim at the pool – a great way to burn off our sweet drinks.

Seeing T repeatedly jump into the water, with a huge smile and loud laughter, was my payoff for persevering through our day together.

20 thoughts on “Patience, Perseverance, Payoff

  1. I agree. I believe behind every happy , successful and kind human being is a parent who raised them with lots of patience and love. Wonderful post my friend, and yes we do need to treat ourselves and our students for a job well done. Cold Bubble Tea sounds good right now when it’s hot. Happy Summer and regards.

    1. Thank you as always for your kind comments! 😃 And happy summer to all of us filled with lots of cold treats and nature!

  2. You truly do have wonderful patience. I can appreciate how challenging this must be some days and always hear the incredible dedication you have for T. I like the way you break tasks into smaller pieces and the way you celebrate successes. 💗💗

    1. Thank you as always for the words of encouragement, LaDonna. It does get easier, even the trying moments, and we’ve learned to pick and choose our battles, especially being mindful of how we respond to the more challenging behaviors. It’s been a game changer for our family and for T, to be honest. 😊 Hope you are enjoying your summer. It is flying by way too quickly!

  3. If patience was a sport in the Olympics, you’d be winning gold! It’s always good to know what it is you’re working for, have a plan, and stick with it. I love that you find ways to celebrate even the small things, like completing a task. And it’s good to reward yourself as well. Those bubble teas look amazing!

    1. Thanks L. I appreciate the vote of confidence. If raising T was an Olympic sport, it definitely is more like a long relay race rather than a short sprint. Gotta pace yourself and you’re part of a big team. 😊

      The bubble tea was such a treat, for sure. After the pandemic, you start to realize how the smallest of pleasures are so missed.

      Enjoy the rest of your week. I have Friday off so this week is practically halfway done! 🤣

      1. That’s too funny, I also took Friday (and the Monday) off. It seems like we’re in sync with booking time off. Enjoy the rest of the week and your well-deserved time off. Do you have any plans for your long weekend?

      2. We’re doing a mini roadtrip with a friend to Thousand Islands. 🙂 Counting down the days. 😆

        I hope you have a great long weekend too! Which parks are you crossing off your list? 😊

      3. Well that sounds like fun!! Are you exploring around the mainland of Thousand Islands or are you planning on seeing some of the islands by boat (or both)? Enjoy your time off.

        We’ll be visiting Awenda, Six Mile Lake, Restoule, Mikisew, and Arrowhead. We’re planning on leaving tonight after work. I can’t wait!

      4. 5 crests in one weekend! 🤣 Awenda is beautiful. I’ve never been to the others but I see lots of raves for Arrowhead. Have a great time!

        A lot of places are closed unfortunately but we will enjoy hiking and kayaking. 😊 Can’t wait as well.

        Here’s to a great weekend to us all!

      5. Haha, we’re not that hardcore. We’re leaving tonight and coming back Monday evening, so we’ll be taking an extra long weekend. We visited Awenda for the first time last year and fell in love with the area. I haven’t been to any of the other parks either, except Arrowhead, but that was in the winter, so that doesn’t really count, so I’m excited to check out some new places.

    1. Thank you, Vickie! We have to laugh for sure, cuz the other option is not as fun. 🤣 Have a good day and week to you and Jess.

  4. Sounds like you have a good plan to get through the frustrations of getting T to focus. Great job! We’ve been venturing farther out as well. In our state, we do not have any restrictions anymore. Even for school, masks are now optional. But D still wears a mask wherever he goes and honestly, at the grocery store the other day, some lady stopped me and asked me how old he was. I thought she was going to say something like, “He is such a big boy!” when I told her, which he is. Instead, she said, “He looks old enough to be vaccinated.” Sheesh. Some people!

    1. Thanks Robyn. Some days the plan works, some days you just kinda have to do let it go. 🤣

      I’ve read about parts of the States letting go of all the restrictions. That feels like another world to me, to be honest, especially the mask wearing part. I can see how it feels very freeing but I can also see why people want to keep the masks on. I’m on the mask wearing inside camp for now. But outdoors, no masks.

      That lady at the store needs to mind her own business. 🤣 Sadly, I think this is going to be the norm for a while. The busy bodies.

      Enjoy the new freedoms this summer. It’s been a long time coming!

  5. This reminded me of this time last year when I was trying to homeschool Willow through her last term of primary school. I say homeschool, the teacher had recorded video instructions for her, but she could not focus on the video and kept waving bits of Lego at me or going into the other room “hang on, I need to get something”. It drove me mad and I had to keep apologising to the teacher that she hadn’t managed to do the work. At first he tried to give suggestions but in the end he just said never mind!

    1. Sounds about right… minus the Lego bits. It is very challenging and patience sapping, isn’t it? Virtual schooling definitely made these issues feel even more top of mind. Congrats for getting through it! 😊

  6. You have so much patience even though I’m sure you don’t think so at times. What in the world is bubble tea? It looks like a tea slushy. I love these with coke or cherry pop.

    1. The hubby and I have gotten more patient over time but I can assure you that we too are a work in progress. Writing about the moments with some distance always helps! 😊

      Ooh, I get to introduce you to something you don’t know about. Bubble tea is basically a cold drink, popularized in Asia and made its way here in the late 90s. You can get them in different flavors and there’s usually tapioca balls in the drink too. Tea slushy sounds about right. Here’s a quick primer:

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