In Rick Green's excellent film, Simple Parenting Strategies, Elaine Klaus states that there seems to be two categories of parents: the parent who is overwhelmed and who has ADHD, and the parent who tends toward a type A personality, and is "in control." Both parents and young people need support as they launch into the new school year!
Look at the tasks that need to be accomplished each morning. Write down everything you do and approximately how long it takes to do it. You don't have to write what you do in any particular order unless your brain works that way. After you list tasks with time estimates, number each task in the order you will do it. From here you can make a list of what you will do from the time you wake up, until the time that you walk out the door. Add your time estimates to see exactly how much time you will need. Then add on an extra ten minutes in order to have a margin. And parents, don't forget to allow for driving time in your plan. Once you have a routine, you can post it in order to see it, or you might prefer to write it on a mirror with a gel pen. Some people even time tasks to specific songs. When the song is over it is a cue to move to the next task.
- Get an official diagnosis for your child if you haven't already.
- Consider setting school accommodations in place for your child, such as a 504 plan, which serves to level the playing field, allowing your child to be successful.
- Communicate with teachers and school staff about what works best for your child. If you are unsure about this, consider hiring an ADHD Coach
- Ask your child's teacher or teachers if they will provide you with weekly homework assignments to help pace your child. Many young people struggle to write down homework assignments, especially once they start changing classes for the first time.
- All assignments should be listed in a daily plan with an allotted time slot. It is important to list the due dates of long term assignments, such as projects and papers on a monthly calendar. Once the steps are broken down, they too can be written down in a weekly plan.
- Have your child check their grades routinely, especially in middle school and high school.
- Don't hesitate to ask for help. Discuss with your child how to realize that they are in trouble, for example, if you get a grade that is a C or less, it means that it is time to go to the teacher for extra help.
- Consider hiring a tutor. Tutors can help your child stay on track and enhance study skills. Many people with ADHD benefit from working collaboratively with another person. Let your child interview a tutor to be sure that there is a good connection. We know that positive emotion supports executive skills.
- Request a study hall as part of your child's schedule. Many young people will get more done in school if they realize that it means less time on homework, after school. An added bonus in working at school is that there are teachers or peers to help if you are having trouble, or don't understand something.