ADHD and school can be a challenging combination for any parent. Planning for success can go a long way in helping your child with ADHD excel. At Brain Balance, we want all children to connect with success. Find our tips and strategies below to help make ADHD and school a winning combination for your child!
1. Stick to a schedule. Most children thrive in a predictable environment, but this is even more important for kids with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Maintaining focus and avoiding impulsive behavior is easier when kids know what's coming next. Create a daily schedule that works for your family that includes eating meals together when possible, designated homework time, designated free time, exercise, and plenty of sleep. Make extra curricular activities a privilege that is earned only when your child complies with the family's schedule. Involve your child in creating the schedule so he or she feels ownership of the plan. Get more specific family schedule ideas here!
2. Make sleep a priority. It's no secret that kids with ADHD have trouble falling asleep, and a tired child is much less likely to thrive in school. Create a bedtime routine in an environment that is conducive to sleep. Start early in the evening by turning lights down and engaging your child in a calming activity like meditation, listening to soft music, or a warm bath with Epson salt. Consider using a weighted blanket to help a squirmy child fall asleep faster. For more information about ADHD symptoms and sleep issues, click here.
3. Stick to a healthy diet. While adjusting your family's diet to meet the needs of your child with ADHD can be overwhelming, there are resources available to make it easier. If you suspect food sensitivities are contributing to your child's ADHD symptoms, read this great article from ADDitude Magazine that details a methodical approach to eliminating problem foods. In addition to avoiding common triggers like sugar, artificial colors, and caffeine, there are many other healthy food choices that will benefit your whole family. Click here for our article that details the link between ADHD and diet and offers menu suggestions for optimal health.
4. Communicate with your child's school. Get to know school administrators personally, and be honest with them about your child's strengths and weaknesses. Let them know what you are doing at home to help your child succeed at school, and be open to their suggestions as well. If you have an upcoming IEP meeting, be prepared by reading these parent tips for a successful meeting. Stay focused on the goals set for your child and create a home environment that supports what the school is doing to help your child achieve those goals.
While being successful in school with ADHD can be a challenge, careful planning can go a long way in making it a reality.