Back to School Tips for Families with ADHD
After a busy summer on the go, Back to School for families with ADHD might be either a struggle or a comfort. Your family might have trouble transitioning from the less routine days of summer to the structure of back to school. You all might have some anxiety about the next new normal, new teachers and an overwhelming influx of dates and papers. The best solution is getting organized for back to school.
Setting up planners for everyone
Parent don’t have to be the only ones with calendars. Start Back to School with a digital planner for everyone and a visual planner for the home. Gather all the dates ahead and front load your planners with school holidays, activities and other dates. Share the digital planner with everyone via device. Now set up your family meeting time and add these same dates to your visual family calendar. Give your kids options for their school digital planner with Google calendar or MyHomeworkApp. Planners help everyone be more organized and independent in their lives.
Pro tip: If your kids ask you about a date, refer them to your home and digital planners. They learn the value of self-sufficiency this way. Keep this going by checking everyone’s planner each week at your family meeting.
Is everyone’s closet over stuffed and they still have nothing to wear? Back to School is the time to declutter and donate. Set up partners and set aside an hour to go through clothes. Immediately move those forward. Now see what is left and purchase a capsule wardrobe for fall. For kids that is 10 items (tops, bottoms, jacket, leggings) that together create a fashionable selection for school and work days.
Pro tip: Less is more. Fewer clothes mean less laundry. Keep vigilant on new purchases throughout the year.
Determining study areas and school supplies
Setting up a successful homework area and access to school supplies makes homework time easier. Most kids work best in a quiet but not secluded area. Your dining room is ideal. Use a caddy filled with necessary supplies at that location. Fill backpacks with the same supplies for work at school. Organize a school supply area, labelled and with easy access.
Pro tip: Establish study times and routines for your family. Start at the same time every day to maximize productivity. Check your students’ online planners offered by school. Load up back packs and move them to the landing strip or mudroom as the last step for homework.
Acting as the Family Chief Operations Officer
Every team needs a Chief Operations Officer (COO) and that is you!
- Use a command center for this job. Your command center includes your family calendar, a bulletin board for resources and invitations, and wall pockets for paper work. Have one wall pocket for school or one for each kid. Set up office hours to review email, purchase supplies online and stay on top of family activities.
- A family landing strip or mud room is the hub of activities. Hooks for bags and bins for shoes keeps this area organized.
- As a person with ADHD, remember to work as a team. Look for tasks to delegate and automate. That can be additional help like a cleaning lady or automating your Amazon deliveries.
Pro tip: Your self care will help you be more productive as the COO. Put your own oxygen mask on first and finds ways to prioritize your tasks.
There’s a lot to keep in mind with the Back to School transition. Pace yourself, get everyone in bed early the week before school starts and plan extra healthy snacks on your grocery list. You are practicing organization and that takes time.
I love this tip about getting the “packed” backpacks to the landing strip as the last step of homework. What a great idea. So often, even if the homework is done, families are still scrambling in the morning to pack the bag and get out the door with everything.
@Seana – doing what we can right away always helps!
It feels like the summer just began, but we are, talking about Back to School already. I know it’s coming. For parents and kids, this can be an exciting, if not stressful, time. I love all of the suggestions you made to make the transition and school year go more smoothly. The idea to create a capsule wardrobe for kids is brilliant! I love that one.
Thank you @Linda – yes our kids could benefit from less stuff and less laundry for parents.