Going back to school may not be something that any kid looks forward to, but young people with ADHD can have an even harder time adjusting to the school year. If your child or teen is struggling, you want to do everything you can to support them, but back-to-school season with a child who has ADHD can be a real challenge for you as a parent too. Here are our top five tips to prepare your child with ADHD for the school year.
1 – Set & Maintain a Consistent Weekday Routine
Parents of young people with ADHD know that there’s a weird, seemingly counterintuitive truth about those who have ADHD. These young people are both easily bored, and they thrive on routine. By setting and maintaining a schedule, you can help young people with ADHD achieve greater success in and out of school.
It can be extremely beneficial to have a large calendar your child can access (maybe more than one around the house), so they can see their daily and/or weekly and monthly events. Make sure to include time for studying, extracurricular activities, and relaxing. By maintaining a consistent routine, you’ll help your child more easily focus from day to day since they know what to expect. If schedules need to change quickly, especially for younger children, it may be difficult or trigger ADHD symptoms, so be patient with them.
2 – Set Goals for the New School Year
Another perplexing truth about ADHD is that those who struggle with ADHD, no matter how much they don’t want to, do well with goals. Help your child set goals for the day, week, month, and school year. Check in with them regularly about their goals. Make sure some of these goals are easily achievable and some are more of a challenge to stretch their limits. You can even write these out on the calendar as reminders.
3 – Set Up a Meeting with the Teacher and/or School Administrators
Most schools will require education meetings for any students who have unique educational needs. If your child’s school doesn’t schedule a meeting to discuss possible classroom accommodations and other resources, make sure you reach out to see if this is an option. At the very least, take the time to introduce yourself to your child’s teacher. Let them know your child or teen has ADHD, and that you are available if there are any concerns or if they would like to collaborate to manage any issues that arise. It can go a long way just to let them know you’re willing and ready to offer support.
4 – Make Time for Fun Activities
While it’s important to help young people with ADHD focus and stay on task during the school year, it’s also important to give them some fun activities and outlets for their energy. Fun activities are also something your child or teen can look forward to as an incentive to get through the school day and their schoolwork.
5 – Consider Scheduling Therapy Sessions
Many young people with ADHD do just fine without therapy but still benefit from regular mental health check-ups (they are just as important as yearly physical check-ups!). Others can really benefit from talking to a professional. For young children and teens with ADHD, feeling different, struggling and possibly falling behind on schoolwork, feeling like they’re always in trouble, and all the other challenges that can come along with ADHD can take a real toll on their emotional health, self-esteem, and overall well being. If your child is struggling, consider scheduling a visit to our office.