The start of a new school year can be empowering and difficult. It brings the promise of a new teacher and a fresh start, as well as the fear of previous challenges. For your ADHD family, back to school is a new beginning each and every year.
Back to school for your ADHD family is a great clean slate. It’s about starting off with fresh energy. There’s excitement in collaborating with a new teacher. Start your year off with a family meeting about the successes from last year. What worked well? What didn’t? Starting off with a successful, solutions oriented perspective will make this the best year for your family.
There are many ways to set up binders and accordion files for your child. There are many different school supplies. Rely on your school district supply list and check your own supplies. Coach your child to set up a binder system and school supplies that work for him/her. A homework folder or pocket in the binder where all homework comes and returns makes it easy to keep up with this paper. The best systems are the most simple.
School and Homework routines
One of the hardest parts of school is homework routines. It’s all about consistency. Set a time for homework to start and finish after school. Starting after a snack and short break makes it easier to complete homework. Set up a homework spot with an additional set of supplies for your child. Partner with your child to prioritize the daily assignments, working in small time slots. Using a timer can be a bonus for getting started and working without distractions.
A critical element for all routines is good rest. Set bedtimes for parents and kids. Start early getting to bed, eliminating blue screens at least an hour before bedtime. Have a charging station in a public spot for all electronics in the home. A good night’s rest is a great way to be sure everyone is working at their full potential.
Set up a landing strip where kids backpacks, your purse, and possibly shoes are housed. There’s no scrambling in the morning when there’s only one spot. Clean out backpacks and purses weekly.
Parents, teachers and counselors working as a team is the best for everyone. If your child has a 504 plan or IEP, review that early in the year. Frequent communication by email helps everyone work together. Start the year off with an email to your child’s teachers sharing his/her strengths and noting where help is needed most. Establishing a trust relationship takes time, but working as a team is best for your child.
Gathering a team of resources is an asset. Your child can benefit from work with a counselor, professional organizer or homework buddy. In having a team you can learn and share what works with each professional.
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