Back-to-School Survival Tips for Parents

Back to school can be tough for many kids and even more so for kids with ADHD and their parents. Transitions, such as changes in peers, teachers and environment, can make things much worse. Check out these survival tips to help your child and yourself through the first month of school.

Support. Your child actually needs more support and understanding from you right now, so give it to him. My son has been melting down during his first week of school with overwhelm due to his homework. So I sit with him and give him guidance and encouragement as he completes each task. I have told him (repeatedly) that his only job is to have a positive attitude. I show him how to check items off his to-do list, empowering him and propelling him on to the next assignment. I make it fun by being a bit silly through examples. This lightens his mood, making it easier for him to get the work done. Will I sit next to him all year long? Absolutely not. I will wean my support as his confidence grows and he no longer needs it.

Routine. You have heard it before, but it is the number one factor that can help your child with ADHD stay in check. Following a daily routine sets your child up for success because the expectation of how the morning or homework time will go is already set, making it easier to comply. Need help within these routines? (1) Set a timer; first with longer timeframes and gradually shortening them for success. (2) Paper checklists help keep your child visually organized on paper and not just in his head. (3) Rewards for success help your child stay motivated with pride (punishment perpetuates shame…stay away from this if you can).

Ample Time. Make sure your child has extra time, especially in the morning. Most problems we have as parents are because we are rushing and we are rushing our children. Lots of time is essential for tasks to actually be completed and done well, even if it is brushing teeth, packing lunches, and getting out the door. Children with ADHD have brain patterns that will make their alertness and focus low early in the morning and when tired. Give them time to succeed.

If these tips don’t help! At Leigh Brain & Spine we help kids that are not able to self-regulate their own behaviors. We use state-of-the art, brain-based evaluations and treatments to see how your child’s brain is performing and what needs to be done for it to process information better. If your child does not respond to the above practices, his brain may be stuck in a neurologically dysregulated pattern making it all but impossible for him to stay focused and organized. If this is true for you, call us, we can help.