Posted on September 2, 2013 by Debra Burdick
Wow, summer has sped by! With kids back in school the stress of juggling the homework and after school activities, and getting back into the routine of being a parent of a school aged child can be overwhelming. This is even worse when there is ADHD involved. Here are some handy tips to help you thrive during this busy and demanding time.
1) As a parent, please be sure to schedule some time to take care of yourself. What this looks like will be different for each person but it could entail making sure you continue (or start) your exercise program, getting to bed early enough to get enough sleep every night, eating a healthy diet, spending a few minutes being mindful each day (here’s how), scheduling some couple time with your honey, and even scheduling some one-on-one down time with each of your kids to just do nothing.
2) Set up a meeting with your child’s teacher ASAP to make sure they know about any special needs and accommodations required to help your child thrive. If you haven’t already done so, talk with the school office to make sure you have a meeting set up with the school team and an IEP is in place for your child with ADHD. For more help with setting your child up to succeed in school read Chapter 11 of A Holistic Approach to Successful Children with ADHD. A Home Study System for Parents and listen to the CD containing the interview with a Special Education teacher that’s included.
3) Request (or buy) a second set of textbooks for home so your child will skip the issue of forgetting to bring the right book home.
4) Set up a homework system to help your child stay organized. This might involve a binder containing a colored folder with pockets for each subject. Teach your child to place homework needing to be done in the right pocket, and completed homework in the left pocket. For more help with keeping your child organized see Chapter 10 in A Holistic Approach to Successful Children with ADHD. A Home Study System for Parents.
5) Set up a dedicated, distraction free homework space where homework can be done each night. Make sure it has access to a computer, pencils, paper and other school supplies. Choose a place you can supervise as kids often get off track and need you to steer them back.
6) Find a place for your child’s backpack to live and teach them to put it there when they arrive home from school. Go through it with them to make sure you get notices from school and to help keep them organized.
7) Schedule homework time for each day of the week and stick to it. Give homework time priority and schedule it early enough that your child is not already exhausted. Monitor your child’s work. Make sure they are writing down their assignments in their planner or get help at school to remind them to do so.
8) Limit the number of after school activities your child signs up for. All kids, but especially kids with ADHD get easily overwhelmed with too many commitments and not enough time to get everything done. Remember kids with ADHD typically take longer to get homework done. And they absolutely need some kid time to get outside, ride their bikes, play ball, tag, etc. Studies show this activity helps them concentrate and sit still in school. And you will be less overloaded driving them everywhere!
9) Make sure your child is getting enough sleep. Stick to a bedtime routine for your child including a set bedtime every night, time to chill out and calm down before bed, no activities in the bedroom, and a set time to wake up. Use an alarm clock to help your child learn to wake up without your intervention. Give them a reward if they get up at the right time on their own several times a week. For more help with getting good sleep with ADHD see my book ADHD and Sleep. Children and Adults Sleep Better Tonight! Use the Sleep Meditation included with the book to help them calm down their busy ‘monkey’ brains enough to fall asleep.
10) Ask your child’s teacher to help identify some classmates that your child might invite over to play. Kids with ADHD need to practice their social skills and having a one-on-one play date with a peer strengthens their skills, helps them make friends, and allows them to have some plain old fun.
I would love to hear your personal experiences with this topic.