The new school year can be an exciting yet challenging time for any child. For children with ADHD, the transition back to school and a structured schedule can be especially difficult. As a parent, there are several things you can do to help set your child up for success this school year.
1. Stick To A Routine Early On
A few weeks before school starts, begin transitioning your child’s sleep schedule to match school wake-up times. Start instituting regular bedtimes and morning routines so the adjustment is not abrupt once school begins. Try doing practice morning runs of having your child wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast and get out the door on time. Routines and structure are very important for children with ADHD.
2. Visit The School And Meet The Teacher
Set up a time to visit your child’s new classroom and meet their teacher before the first day. This allows your child to become familiar with the new environment and put faces to names they will hear. Talk to the teacher about your child’s ADHD and any specific issues or accommodations that may be beneficial. When the teacher understands your child’s needs ahead of time, they can better support their success.
3. Organize School Supplies
Take your child shopping for school supplies and allow them to pick out a few fun items like a colorful backpack or lunchbox. Over the summer, help your child organize their school supplies into containers or folders for each subject. Having organized tools and materials will help limit distractions and make mornings go smoother. Set up a designated homework area as well.
4. Practice The Morning Routine
In the weeks leading up to the first day, begin waking your child up earlier and practicing the morning routine. Set out clothes, shoes and bags the night before to prevent last-minute rushing. Gradually move up your child’s bedtime so they are getting enough rest. Post checklists and reminders about daily tasks. Also, determine what your child will eat for breakfast and lunch. The more you can rehearse ahead of time, the easier the first week will go.
5. Set Up A Homework Routine
With your child, establish a regular homework routine that takes place at the same time each afternoon or evening. Choose a quiet location without distractions. Allow scheduled breaks to get energy out. Discuss with your child’s teacher the best strategies like setting alarms to stay focused or breaking larger assignments into chunks. Having structure and parental involvement with homework is key for children with ADHD.
6. Set Up Regular Check-Ins With The Teacher
Communicate with your child’s teacher on a regular basis to discuss progress and any concerns early on. Set up a system where the teacher can easily relay messages to you about your child’s focus, behavior or schoolwork. Also, check in with your child frequently about how they feel school is going. Identify any challenges right away so you can brainstorm solutions together.
7. Get Lots Of Rest
Starting the school year well-rested is crucial. Ensure your child is getting enough sleep on school nights by setting and enforcing a reasonable bedtime. Limit screen time in the evenings and incorporate relaxing activities like reading before bed. Adequate rest will help your child concentrate better and manage ADHD symptoms.
The beginning of a new school year can unleash anxiety. For kids with ADHD, the right preparation and tools make all the difference. By implementing supportive routines, organizing supplies, checking in frequently and allowing your child to have input, you can set them up for a positive and productive year. With your help navigating potential obstacles, your child’s strengths and abilities will shine through.