Back to School Rules for your ADHD Family
The nightly homework battle starts as soon as school opens. It’s a daily chore to keep up with papers for both parents and kids. There’s too much to do, not enough time, and not enough rest. The unending cycle of tension and anxiety takes a toll quickly for families. Here’s back to school rules for your ADHD family that can help your school year run smoother.
Back to school successful systems
Set up stations in your home which as dedicated to what’s important. A specific “home” for items keeps them easy to access and keeps your home uncluttered.
- Have a landing spot near the door for charging devices, hanging keys, and hosting backpacks. This is where all these items go at the beginning and end of the day.
- Create a command center, which is an action spot for papers. A simple command center includes either wall pockets, a desk top sorter or baskets for papers. Kids drop papers here and it’s where the mail goes.
- Centralize school and office supplies. Pull all the supplies together and see what you have. Now it’s time to go shopping! Contain and label the supplies so everyone can use these.
- Decide on a homework station or stations. Research shows that kids can benefit from more than one location for homework. Be sure these stations are as distraction free as possible. Set up supplies to travel to each station. The dining room is an excellent spot for a homework station since it’s just a few steps away from the action in your home and there’s few visual distractions.
To get started setting up your successful systems, start with the command center. Assign a spot for this center, decide what system is going to fit best in that location, and set up the station with labels. Next, work on your supplies. Finally, set up your landing spot and then decide on the homework station. It will take you an hour or two to set up each system.
Back to school rules
- Wake up. Be awesome. Go to bed. Have a morning and evening routine. At your family meeting, create a list of what is a great start to the day including what it takes to head off to school and work. Discuss each individuals role, as well as how long each responsibility will take. Set a time for everyone to get up, with an alarm clock. Some parents choose to get up earlier in order to get more done first. For the evening routine, start with a set time to begin and end homework. A good start begins with a snack and a good end is when all the papers are packed away and the backpack is in the landing strip with all technology plugged in. A chart can reinforce these decisions so everyone knows the agreements for the day.
- Plan your work and work your plan. Everyone must have and use a planner. No matter the grade in school, everyone needs a planner. It’s where all assignments, family events and other information is written. An additional family calendar, located centrally or digitally, can also keep everyone on track. A completed planner includes notes about every class, including a note saying “no homework.” Using a planner may require some incentives and regular accountability. It’s the one rule that must always be reinforced regularly. More ADHD homework rules here from parents in the homework trenches.
- Be the best we can be. Host a family meeting once a week. Family communication and collaboration is what life is all about and here’s where it happens. A family meeting gives everyone a chance to share what’s gong on, what’s coming up, and share family values. Sharing why school is important, what’s behind all that work, and other values helps you and your kids connect. Start with a complement. move on to the calendar and end with fun.
- TEAM – together we accomplish more. Partner with your kiddos to help them accomplish goals. Set standards that can be accomplished together. Track the successes and use “not successes” as learning opportunities by reflecting back with your child what has happened. Be available as a body double, in their space while they do homework and work alongside them. Create a reminder system to add to, check off and complete homework. The partnership you build will have long lasting positive impact on your kiddos self esteem and successes.
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Many of these tips are useful whether you are dealing with ADHD or not! Working on a similar post to get things in order for back to school. Whatever systems you put in place, stick to them like glue for the first couple of weeks so everyone gets on board!
@Seana – it’s that sticking that matters most!