Back to School Tips for Parents of Students with ADHD
Once again, we stare ahead and see a new school year looming before us. Is your child with ADHD ready? Are you worried that they might not be? It is entirely possible that they are not. If you would like to know what you can do to help your child start the new school year on a positive note, read on! I have compiled some tips you can utilize to help both you and your child have a successful start to the school year.
Many of these suggestions might make you want to force your child to adopt these strategies. That will almost guarantee that the strategy will fail. Give your child freedom and the ability to choose how to adjust to school again. Present these suggestions as suggestions. ADHDers can be a bit rebellious if they feel like someone is forcing their will upon them. Help them see what the right decision is and allow them the freedom to make it. Do not make the decision for them. Also, it is important to note that what might work for one person with ADHD might not work for someone else. ADHD affects everyone differently, and it is nearly impossible to tell what will work for each unique person with ADHD.
If your child is like I was when I was in high school and college, over the summer, they probably stayed up far too late and slept until almost lunchtime. This will not fly once school starts. It would be beneficial for your child to start establishing better sleep habits before school starts if possible.
Furthermore, once school starts, sleep needs to be a priority. Yes, homework and studying will keep your child up late, but they should try to get as much done as possible while still getting to bed at a reasonable time. This might inspire a debate about skipping things they should do but can get away with not doing. For example, I never needed to read the textbook when I was taking A.P. US History. I have a genuine interest in US history, so I was able to easily focus on my teacher's lectures and quickly picked up on it. Moreover, when studying for a test, how productive can someone be when studying at 1:00 AM? Research has shown that late-night cramming causes academic problems the next day. It would behoove your child to get as much sleep as possible the night before a test.
Organize the School Supplies
One awesome thing my junior high did was mandate that every student buy a folder and a notebook of the same color for each subject. Math was yellow. Science was green. Social Studies was blue. And, English was red. This seemed obnoxious at the time, but looking back, it made organization a breeze. When I got to college, I tried to organize all of my papers for all five courses I was taking in three folders. That made things much more difficult. Looking back, the color-coded folders and notebooks made organization simple for me. If your child struggles with organization, suggest this strategy. It will not work for everyone. But, it did for me, and it might work for your child too.
Let Your Child Rest and Do Something Fun Before Starting Homework
It is often said that it is best for students if they do their homework right away when they get home from school. However, students with ADHD have to exert extra energy to focus throughout the day. By the time they get home from school, their brains are exhausted. Give your child with ADHD a chance to recuperate and do something they enjoy before getting started on their homework.
Allow Your Child to Take Short, Frequent Breaks During Homework Time
The ADHD brain benefits greatly from frequent, short breaks. Implememnting this in your classroom will make your students with ADHD more productive.
Be Ready for When Your Child Feels Friendless
Those of us with ADHD struggle socially. There are a variety of reasons for why this occurs. ADHDers have zany senses of humor, have trouble picking up on social cues, are impulsive, are wired differently, and have many other characteristics that others find off-putting. If your child has ADHD, there is a chance they will come to you heartbroken over their social life. Be ready with what to say. Do not try to fix the problem for them or tell them that making friends is easy. Remind them of their good qualities and assure them that there is nothing wrong with them.
Teach Your Child to Be Their Own Advocate
Yes, as a parent, you want to give your child the best, and you want to be their number one fan. However, when it comes to standing up for their rights or asking for the accommodations they need, you should take more of a backseat role as they get older. When they are younger, yes, you will need to take charge of making sure they have everything they need to succeed, but as they get older, they will need to learn to be their own advocate so that, when they go to college or get out in the real world, they will not be reliant upon you to help them get what they need.