Begin now to help your son or daughter prepare for the start of the new school year. While many of the tips listed below are helpful for all students, they are particularly helpful for the student with ADHD. Because students with ADHD struggle with executive function (e.g., goal-directed persistence, planning, problem-solving, self-regulation), the role of the parent becomes even more important in helping the student with ADHD have a successful start to the new school year.
Below are seven tips that may be helpful to you and your family as you begin this school year:
1) Help your son or daughter get a good night’s sleep; it is an essential component to a healthy life. How can you do this? Begin now to have your child/teen go to bed earlier and get up earlier. To make this easier, begin by doing this in 10- to 15-minute increments. Encourage your child/teen to be more active during the day; this is helpful for improved sleep. Also, phase out the use of digital devices before going to bed, with no use one hour before bedtime. Removing the cell phone from the bedroom helps as well.
2) If your child/teen has been off medication over the summer, visit the prescribing physician at least two weeks before school starts and begin the medication before school starts. Your son or daughter may have grown since spring and may need a different dose.This is particularly true of teens since their bodies are changing rapidly.
3) Plan ahead. For young children, create a visual schedule for the morning routine. Allow the child to help with this schedule. Sometimes an agenda is helpful for teens. Also, plan the night before what is to be worn the next day.
4) Hang a calendar in a prominent place in the home. Record school events in one color ink and all extra curricular activities in another color. Record events for the month at the beginning of each month.
5) Make eating breakfast a priority, and include nutritious, non-additive foods.
6) Prepare a place for homework completion. Allow your child/teen to have a voice in these decisions.
7) Discuss with your child/teen the setting of one or two goals for the first month of school.
As I have shared with many families, “A predictable problem is a preventable one” so plan ahead and be especially encouragingto your son or daughter. Let them know that you are proud of their hard work and grit.