There’s an old song that says, “Summertime, and the living is easy.” If you have a child with ADHD, you know that is true. Lazy days, sleeping late, impromptu picnics, swimming and vacations are the activities we think of when we say summer. All kids love the freedom of those loosely planned days and staying up late nights. For the child with ADHD, giving up that freedom and starting back to school can be a challenge. There are ways to make the transition easier for you and your child. The beginning of the school year can be fun and exciting if you plan ahead and prepare your student to begin the school year with a positive attitude. The following simple back to school guide can help your child get off to a running start as he heads back to school this year.
Get Back on a Good Sleep Schedule
It’s easy to let schedules slip away in the summertime. A predictable and consistent bedtime schedule is an essential component to a successful school year, especially if you have a child with ADHD. Make sure your child gets plenty of rest. Allow 30 minutes of down time, prior to lights out. Reading, listening to soft music, or quietly talking about the day’s events or tomorrow’s plans are good ways to help your child settle in for the night. Make sure your child feels prepared to start the new day with confidence.
Have a School-Night Routine
Work, school, daycare, dinner, homework, projects, laundry, and all the things that make up a typical day can be very stressful. Coming up with a school- night routine and trying to stick to it can help your child have a successful year. It may be a good idea to sit down together and come up with a routine that works for everyone.
– Allow time for play and physical exercise…and THEN get to the homework.
Take a walk, shoot some basketball, or ride bikes. Set a time for homework and projects. Be available to help your child as necessary, even if you’re catching up on other things. Have a designated work area for homework. Make sure there are sharpened pencils, paper, and other supplies available in case your child forgot to bring those items home from school. Create an environment that is as free from distractions as possible.
– Have a set time for dinner…
…and be sure it coordinates with everybody’s schedule so the family can eat together. Try to keep electronic devices away from the dinner table, and don’t talk on the phone unless it’s an emergency. The dinner table is a great time for positive conversation.
– Make sure backpacks are packed.
Remind and assist your child in ensuring that homework, permission slips and other required documents are signed and in the backpacks, and clothes are ready to wear. Packing lunches at night is one more thing you won’t have to do in the morning. Taking a few minutes to organize in the evening will make the morning routine much easier.
Nutrition plays an important part in the back to school routine. Children with ADHD need extra time in the morning to assure they eat something before they go to school. Set the alarm a little early. A healthy breakfast doesn’t have to be elaborate. Peanut butter toast with sliced apples, cold cereal with bananas, or yogurt with fruit and almonds are quick but nutritious breakfast choices. The breakfast table is a good place to double-check and be sure your child is ready for the day. Prompt him to get his jacket, gym clothes, backpack, or any items he will need to have a successful day.
Recognize and Compliment Your Child’s Good Work
Everyone likes recognition and praise for a job well done. Kids with ADHD thrive on it. Be aware of your child’s smallest accomplishments and give him positive praise when he is successful. If he follows the routine you’ve established, gets a compliment for good behavior in school, brings home a homework paper with a good grade, or completes routine tasks without reminders, be sure to let him know you are proud of him. Little rewards go a long way.
Provide Tools to Enhance Success
You can enhance your child’s learning experience by providing him with tools to build skills that make learning easier for him. C8 Sciences ACTIVATE™ program is available for home use, and can be used as a teaching tool for your child. The sophisticated software program is designed to teach your child basic skills such as working memory, task completion, sustained attention, and self-control and reading comprehension. The program is affordable, user-friendly and combines cognitive brain training with a strategically designed physical exercise program.
Stay in Touch with your Child’s Teacher
One of the keys to success is good communication. Let your child’s teacher know that you will communicate with her as needed. Ask her to let you know if she notices frustrations, problems, or other behavior issues before they become a problem. Confer with the teacher to come up with a plan of correction. Teamwork will help your child succeed.
Make Learning Fun
Keep it light. Help your child develop a positive attitude about learning. In life, learning never stops. Instill a love for learning in your child that will last a lifetime. Provide him with positive praise, lots of love, and the tools he needs to succeed, and then watch him flourish!
Do you have any “getting ready for school” tips you’d like to share? Be sure to leave them below!