Summer is officially over and so are the days of trips to Carowinds, Discovery Place, and the swim club. Sending the kids back to school can be one of the most bittersweet times of year for parents, especially those with children who have ADHD. Part of you screams, “Yes! I finally get some respite from my stir-crazy balls of energy!!” Then there’s that other part that begins to worry about how your child will transition into a new school year wondering, “Will he/she be able to keep up? How will the teacher respond to his/her energy?”
Transitions can be difficult for anyone, especially for children struggling with ADHD. Add the common challenges that occur within the school environment, such as being expected to sit still, be patient, not interrupt, and to pay attention can be overwhelming for parents. It is common to feel helpless in how to support this transition. Fear not as there are many things that you can do at home to make this transition smooth for your kiddos!
Here are some tips to help your child with their transition back to school, but remember you’re not alone. Our team of counselors at Thriveworks Counseling, Charlotte are here to help!
1. Set an After School Schedule
Routines can be very beneficial for your child by clearly letting them know what is expected of them. Be sure to include time for breaks from attention consuming tasks. I have found that using timers can also help children to decrease the daunting feeling that they will be working on their homework forever.
2. Get Active with Your Child!
Exercise and physical activity can have an extremely positive impact on symptoms of mental health conditions. Lucky for you, Charlotte has so many choices for fun ways to get active like going on a walk or taking a bike ride at Freedom Park. You could also take a trip to the U.S. National Whitewater Center where you can find both land and water activities that your child will enjoy. Participating in these activities with your child will likely increase their chances of getting active, not to mention increase bonding and healthy attachment. Include play in their evening schedule and go outside with them. There is always a great benefit to playing with your child for him and for you!
3. Eliminate Distractions During Homework Time.
Getting rid of distractions sounds like a simple enough task, right? Rethink what distractions are to you and your child. Is checking your e-mail on your iPhone distracting your child? What about preparing their favorite meal in the same room? Find a quiet, comfortable place where there is little to take their attention away. Set an example for them by putting your phone or the TV remote away while you are working on an important task. Model for your child how to eliminate distractions, after all they want to be just like you!
4. Help Your Child Make To-Do Lists.
Getting in the habit of self-monitoring will greatly help your child now and in the future. Help them learn prioritization by putting the most important tasks first and making the list short and reasonable so they don’t get overwhelmed. Delayed gratification can be challenging for children with ADHD, so checklists can help them see they are meeting goals in small steps. It’s always a great feeling to check something off a task list!
5. Talk with your child’s teacher.
Let’s face it, helping your child excel academically can be one of the hardest tasks in parenting. Find out what strategies are working well within the school environment and be willing to try them at home. This will help your child get their homework completed, as well as reinforce what he/she is learning in school. Try to keep home and school standards the same as it helps bring cohesiveness to their learning experience.
And remember to praise their efforts towards coping with their symptoms of ADHD. Focus your energy on what they are doing right and they will too!
If you’d rather listen to the audio version, see below:
This ADHD is a disadvantage? Maybe there’s another side to the story. In this video, Dr. Jessica Pena talk about the Advantages of the ADHD mind.