Back to School for Kids with ADHD

As the summer begins to wind down, parents start thinking about getting their kids ready to go back to school. For those parents with kids who have ADHD that can mean ore extensive preparation.Kids with ADHD can have a difficult time adjusting to classrooms and homework again, there are steps you can take steps to help make the transition easier.

WebMD has these recommendations for back to school preparation for parents of children with ADHD.

  • Adjust the sleep schedule – During the summer, kids often get used to sleeping in late. A few weeks before the school year begins, it is a good idea to start waking them up earlier in preparation for the demands of the school schedule.
  • Get organized – This can include things like have storage bins, binders, folder and other system to help your child keep supplies and work assignments organized.
  • Plan a back to school calendar – Lay out a calendar with all of the activities and times your child will be involved in once the school year begins.This should also include a regular time for homework.
  • Post the daily routine – You should have a list of all of the regular daily activities your child needs to do, such as getting dressed, making the bed, eating, taking their backpack, etc.
  • Talk to the teacher – This is especially important if your child has a new teacher. You should discuss what has helped your child do better in the classroom. You may also want to ask the teacher if you can get a second set of textbooks a ADHD students may have a tendency to misplace them. You should also talk to the teacher about your child’s 504 plan or IEP (individualized education plan) if you have one. You  can learn what the homework load will be so you can ask for help for your child to be able to finish the assignments on time.

Elaine Taylor-Klaus at Totally ADHD suggests that you stick with what has worked for your child in the past, and work with them when setting up systems to help them stay focused and organized. She says:

“Systems work well when you’re clear on WHAT you’re trying to achieve, WHY it’s important, and HOW it works for each person involved. And you gotta have buy-in. Even young kids can be part of creating systems, and they must be motivated to use them. When possible, use rewards instead of punishments; work towards success instead of taking things away. Identify your child’s strengths and create structures that play to their strengths.”

The start of a brand-new school year can be stressful for AD/HD kids who just got used to summer’s calmer pace. Helping your child by slowly implementing new schedules and organization before class starts will make the changes less frenetic and the demands of the classroom easier to deal with.

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