Back to School and Back to Homework for your ADHD Student

 

Back to school and back to school for ADHD student

 

It’s the first week of school and you and your student are not ready to buckle down for homework.  With less structure and more free time, homework is an unhappy addition to going to school all day.  The first week of school is an important time for year-long homework success.  It’s time to set up a successful homework time and station for your ADHD student.  Here’s how to make homework time work for you both.

 

What most ADHD students need

ADHD students struggle with organizing and planning, getting started and getting finished, taking more time to complete work, and turning in homework.  As you plan for homework time, be sure these needs are met during homework time.

 

What works and what doesn’t

Last year’s homework successes and struggles are a great starting point to jump-start this year.  Coach your kids about what works for them, rather than tell them how.

Here’s topics to discuss

  • Are there organizing tools will they use for homework?
  • What are the possible organizing tools will they use for papers?
  • Where is a positive location and set up and location for their focus?
  • What are the times that  work best to complete their work?

While coaching, you can help by asking positive, engaging questions to set up structure for your student. Keep it simple with how to set up for success.

Organizing tools for homework can include a planner, post it notes, or a dry erase board.  For paper, your student can use an accordion file, pocket folders or binder with slash pockets.  Best locations for homework are the dining room and a study.  It’s easiest to get to work after a short break and a snack.

 

Distractions, interruptions and more

Here’s a variety of solutions for distractions, interruptions or trouble getting started.

  • Have a homework helper each afternoon to partner with your child.
  • Arrange study times with other kids, swapping spaces and moms to help with homework.
  • Use a timer to get your student started.
  • If you are away and your student is at home working, identify your student’s independent work  before you get home.

Real distraction, such as Instagram, texts and online browsing can be difficult to monitor. Internet blockers can help you student stay on track.

 

The real outcome is support. As you and your student head back to school and back to homework, you will both need support to feel successful about homework each day.  Reach out to local support with ADHD specialists, therapists, coaches and educators to make each afternoon a positive experience. Be sure to have an expansive team to support you both!

 

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5 Tips for the First Day Back to School

first day back to school

5 Tips for Mom, Dad, Auntie, Grandparents and Caregivers

  • Plan ahead with breakfast, lunch and snacks.
  • Get up earlier than your kids to have coffee, get grounded and get ahead.
  • Music can make your family’s day. Create a playlist for your morning.
  • Surround your family with positive energy and positive talk.
  • Make self care a priority the first week of school.

 

5 Tips for Students

  • Make a plan for your best year with positive self talk.
  • Get in bed early and give yourself a little more time in the morning.
  • Make sure you have what you need to take to school that first day.
  • Encourage your siblings and create a family team.
  • Take the extra steps to follow through and work well with others.

5 Tips to Get Ready for Back to School

Back to school

 

Getting ready for back to school feels like a sprint and a marathon. It’s a myriad of details, appointments, and preparation.  What makes it easier to get ready for back to school?  Here’s five tips that prep you for being back to school.

Have your calendar and your check book ready

At back to school time, there’s two very important tools to have at your fingertips. Your calendar is where all the new dates for school, athletics, worship and more belong. It’s your guide for each day of the next 9 months.  Gather all the dates and times each day and then each evening scribe these.  You want to get ahead of the game by getting all the dates in this early.  Over the next few weeks be sure to have a weekly family  meeting to keep your calendar up to date. Your checkbook is the age old money holder, however now it’s your credit card, Venmo or other financial transaction method.  Back to school is when you register for new activities, pay for books, or pay for supplies.  Be ready and track your expenses.

 

Make appointments and shop early

Here’s a quick list of some of the appointments you might need before school starts.

  • Well check doctors’ or chiropractors appointments
  • Personal care such as haircuts and manicures

Start by assessing what’s in your kids’ drawers and fits. Get caught up on laundry to know what you have and what you need to purchase.  Set aside a time to shop with your kids just for basics to get the year started. There’s easy ways to shop online, however be sure to return what you don’t need and doesn’t fit.

 

Make a lunch, dinner and snack plan

Food makes us all smile! Breakfast can be a quick start or something to take on the road with you. Dinner time is when we gather to share our stories each day.   Make yourself and everyone happy with mindful appreciation for food.  There’s lots of ways to get meals organized, so pick one or a few that are easy for you and your family. Don’t forget healthy snacks too!  Back to school requires lots of energy and food is one of the major ways to fuel ourselves.

 

Set up family routines that work

The best types of organization require routines. It’s what we do repeatedly,  almost automatically.  These are morning, homework, and evening routines.  Morning routines are hopefully minimal and focus on getting out of the house on time.  By creating Homework routines, you are simplifiying getting homework complete and back to school.  In the evening, the goal is to gather for a meal and to get a great night’s rest.  Review your family routines during a family meeting and be sure everyone agrees.  If needed, create a check lis to insure everyone is on board.

 

Ready, set, tech

There’s tech tools that help you with back to school too.  Use a good old fashioned alarm clock to wake each person each morning.  Hang an analog clock where you can see it in the bedroom, bathroom and kitchen.  Set reminders on  your smart phone to leave early for school in the morning and end your day at work.  Both Quizlet and Studyblue help your student learn more effectively. Use a bank app to deposit checks or check balances to pay bills. All these small tools add up when you are getting ready for back to school.

 

Back to school is an adventure waiting! Jump in with optimism and positivity for a great start for the new school year.

 

More back to school ideas here!

 

Hugs and Happy Organizing: Boy’s Room

hugs and happy organizing boy's room

 

Hugs and happy organizing are client success stories.  Here’s a story about a boy’s room. 

 

Kids spaces and rooms can be chaotic, overwhelming and stuffed to the brim.  More toys and games come in after each holiday and birthday.  Overnight your child seems to grow an inch and clothes are too small.  Here’s how to conquer this cluttered space.

  • Start with putting “like items” together. Match up the games together, electronics together, clothes together and crafts together.  When you see all the items together, it’s easier to make decisions on what to keep and what to let go.
  • Start small with your child if he/she is going to be a part of the team. Work together for 30 minutes to know what is most important and what to keep.  If your child wants to keep everything, think of this as a treasure hunt, set a limit with a number they suggest, or use a hula hoop to define an area of work.
  • As the parent, you help your child to learn organization, how to take care of and value your belongings and how to declutter. Establishing an orderly space helps your child in having a serene, peaceful rest spot each evening.
  • Let go of MORE.  It’s a powerful lesson to know that your space can offer clarity for you and your child.
  • Sentimentality is the biggest challenge. Store keepsakes in the top of your child’s closet or an organizer under your child’s bed.
  • Schedule decluttering before your child’s birthday, before a holiday and before back to school.  Increased order will benefit you all!

 

More hugs and happy organizing stories here!

Easy Organized, Productive Back to School

easy organized productive back to school

 

Back to school means school starts, activities gear up and nightly routines begin again.  While it is sad to see Summer end, we welcome getting back to school as a fresh start for our kids and ourselves. Let’s make it an easy, organized, productive year for our families at back to school time.

Easy, organized, productive routines

By far families feel the crunch most in the morning and evening. Mornings feel rushed with getting out the door. Evenings fly by with activities and dinner.

  • Create and keep a personal checklist for everyone to follow for morning and evening. Post it where your family each can see it. Parent nagging does not promote getting things done, while a checklist can.  The list includes the most basic and most important things to check off.  Keep it short and simple. However, it can include things can are easily forgotten like brushhing teeth and combing hair.
  • Pattern your day.  That is create a pattern, routine or time assigned for important tasks. Homework should have a set start and finish time.
  • Make meals easy.  Many families have opted for Sunday prep day, a dinner box, or dinner prep (and easy decisions) that arrives like Hello Fresh.
  • Make time for gratitude. During dinner or at bedtime are great times to share what we are grateful for, high and low points of the day, and a special acknowledgement for your kids’ and your successes each day.  There’s power in ending the day positively.

 

Easy, organized clothes and school supplies

There’s clothes, school supplies and other supplies required to start the school year.  Take stock and assess what you have already. This may require making a huge mess when gathering it all together. It’s worth it since you know what you have and purchase only what you need.

  • Think of creating a “uniform” for your kids to wear to school. Like the concept of the capsule wardrobe, use color and your child’s style to pull together a minimum number of outfits.  It will clear the closet clutter this way too!
  • Purchase your school supplies and 2 back ups for future use. Help your child set up their supplies for homework and for school.
  • Keep one bag for each child for each activity. Prep your landing strip by having enough sturdy hooks for each.
  • A productive day starts the night before.  Set your and your kids’ clothes out the night before.  Do as much as you can.  Se bags and backpacks in the landing strip and technology charging in a common space.  Make these steps part of your evening checklist.

 

Easy, organize, productive paper routines

On the first day of school, a tidal wave of paper comes in. Be prepared this year to be organize and productive with a command center for your papers.  The command center is where action papers are located.  The command center can be as simple as a single drawer or inbox or a series of categories customized for your family.

  • Your kids and you drop paper here daily.  You triage it and then add tasks to your list.
  • Once a week, or daily if you need to, spend one hour to get the paper work done. That means pay bills, fill in information, add dates to your calendar and all other administrative tasks.
  • When your “to file” is big enough, you can file it easily.
  • Your list can grow and grown, however choose 3 Most Important Tasks to complete that day or that week.

The key element to remember is keep it simple sweetie!  The easiest, simplest way to get organized is the way to go!  Wishing you the best back to school ever!

 

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Back to School Rules for your ADHD Family

 

back to school rules

 

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Back to school rules for your ADHD family

 

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5 Tips to be Highly Organized for Back to School

highly organized back to school home

 

The beginning of school reminds us all of back to school. Whether we are the parent or the child, we are called to be more organized.  Maybe this summer you slacked off a little.  It’s time to get highly organized for back to school.  Take one of these tips and get to work.

 

Highly organized school supplies

We are already bombarded with school supply and back to school sales.  For this reason, shop your own stock first.  If your supplies have been stored all through the house, gather all the school supplies together and assess your organizing.  If you have too many, it’s a great time to donate to school supply drives.  Set aside supplies for your kids’ backpacks, the homework center and school supply stock.  Create a school and office supply area in an easy access closet or rolling cart.

 

Highly organized mornings  and evenings

There’s no need for mornings and evenings to be chaotic. Set up routines that make for smooth transitions at home.  Start the night before for the best tomorrow.   Leave you and your kids stuff at your landing strip ready to go.  Charge everyone’s devices on the charging station over night.  Make breakfast easy and portable where kids can take it on the run with them.  Write out a check list for each person for mornings and evenings and post these where everyone sees them regularly.

Highly organized closets

Getting ready in the morning and getting laundry done are easy when you declutter your closet.  Take an hour to go through each of your kids’ closets and keep only what fits right now.  If the closet or drawers are stuffed, cull out more so that’s it is easy to put away clothes.  Head into your closet and keep only what makes you feel fabulous!  When you can wear all the clothes in  your closet, it’s quick and easy.

 

Highly organized paperwork and digital documents

Family command centers make for a great way to consolidate information.  More schools are going to online access, so two times a week check online just to be sure you are getting all the information  you need.  Process papers in your purse and kids’ backpacks daily to eliminate, sort and categorize and then shred what you don’t need. Capture important dates in email and text each the evening..  What’s most important is to use a family calendar and command center which are the drop spots for this information.

Highly organized team work

The best family team work starts with family communication.  A family meeting is the time to share information and gather ideas.  Family responsibilities can be done together to be sure everyone pitches in. Whether it is a family cleaning time, family dinner prep together or family laundry party, the family that works together gets more done.  It’s how kids learn new skills and parents share lifelong skills.  Get your team organized with consistent team work.

 

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Student success: Apps and more

student success apps and more

 

Student success depends on organization.  That organization includes recording, planning and executing assignments.  It requires attention and focus during school and after school. In the 21st century, education has moved beyond paper and pencil to technology in and out of the classroom.  Apps are a great way to add organization to your student’s work.

 

 Get social

When I was in school, we huddled around the television on snowy mornings, eager for a closing announcement. Today, many school districts share this information via the web and social media. Get yourself in the loop this school year and visit your district’s website to find the following information:

  • Your school’s and/or district’s Twitter feed
  • Any associated Facebook accounts
  • Classroom-specific websites
  • Classroom Blackboard accounts and mobile applications
  • Teacher blogs

Check these weekly to be sure you are up to date.

 

Student apps

Getting your homework done is a matter of consolidating information.  Students have to look on the board, check the teacher’s website and often look at other online spots.   Using a homework app can help you capture it all in one spot.

  • MyHomework  syncs across devices so you can easily access your classes and assignments anytime and anywhere.
  • Skoach has an integrated task-list and calendar for student’s to coordinate classes, tasks and extracurricular activities.
  • Just taking a photo with your smart phone of the assignments listed on the board and then recapping these on your paper planner can work too!

 

Paperless in school

Schools are starting to use technology primarily for assignments.  In a recent Time article, textbooks and worksheets are stored in the cloud.  Your student should be familiar with these apps to use at home and school to consolidate where they store their work.

  • In Dropbox, students have access to documents on their computers, phones, or tablets. They can edit docs, automatically add photos, and work with videos.
  • Evernote: Take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists, record voice reminders and makes notes searchable.

Study apps

Studying has taken on new options with apps.  These apps are outstanding ways for students to use their learning styles.  With not only visual, auditory and kinesthetic cues, apps make studying more focused, collaborative and interesting.

  • StudyBlue is a collaborative tool for learning vocabulary and concepts.
  • Quizlet helps students learn vocabulary.
  • Essentials by AccelaStudy helps students learn a language.
  • KhanAcademy has math and science tutorials.

Have an app that has worked well for your student?

 

More ideas for successful student strategies here.

 

 

 

 

3 Back to School Tips for Busy Parents

back to school tips for busy parents

 

The school year starts off in a few weeks. It’s a mad dash from August to June with dates, activities, homework, dinner and more.  As parents we are striving for a level of organization and sanity.  These three back to school tips will make your year more organized and less chaotic.

Weekly planning time

Most of your kids invitations and information comes in through email and websites.  It’s hard to consolidate it.  Weekly planning time gives you the opportunity to search through email, school sites, teacher sites and other spots where that information is shared.  Gather up your family calendar and task list, as well as a beverage of choice, and spend an  hour gleaning information. It’s also helpful to sit with your middle and early high school students and make a weekly grid of their homework and after school activities.

 

Choose your calendar that works best for you.  If  you love paper planners, use a paper planner. You can always shoot a photo and share it with your family.  Cozi and Google calendar offer online real time access for everyone in your family.  If you like auditory reminders, set your online calendar and “invite” your family for them to receive alerts too.  Use what works best for you!

 

 

Family meeting

There may be some eye rolling, especially from your spouse, when you mention a family meeting. You can call it the family huddle, gathering time or whatever you prefer.  Hosting a time when everyone shares calendar events and family activities makes family efforts run smoother.   There are always last minute things like baking cupcakes and purchasing poster board. But there will be fewer emergencies when you share during a family time.

 

It’s hard to find a good time to meet after you are back to school. It’s in finding what works for your family that will make hosting your family meeting happen.  Some families sit together after church on Sunday. Some families meet at 5 pm each Sunday.  Decide when you can consistently meet and get started. It’s good to make this pay day for allowances too.

 

Family dinner

Family time together can never be undervalued.  A shared meal is the time for us to share our thoughts and feelings.  But how to overcome all those distractions?   Be realistic about your options.  Even if there is only one time a week, set that expectation.  Dinner time should be a no tech time for everyone, including parents.

 

family dinner conversations

Try something new this year for family dinner conversations. This  dinner conversation jar is filled conversation starters.  It’s a fresh take on that same old conversation.

 

Wishing you and your family the best start to the best back to school ever!

 

More tips for back to school here.

 

Teaching your Teen Time Management

teen time management

 

 

Your kids have known how to tell time since elementary school.  But as teens they are late, don’t get chores complete or other things done on time, and they may even turn in papers late to school.  Time management is more than just knowing how to read a clock.  It’s a struggle for teens to know what to do and how to get things done with time management.

 

According to Psychology Today, time management is just one of the four most critical areas for teens today.  With the level of brain development, teens are not fully equipped for time management.  Because brain development continues into our twenties, teens benefit from our coaching them with time management through high school and college.  Teens are unsure of what to do first, how long it will take to complete and how to get started.  Teen time management includes coaching in prioritizing, duration, and initiation/procrastination.

 

Prioritizing

What’s important and should be done first? That’s a question not only teens struggle with.  Parents don’t always agree on this between themselves.  How do we know what’s most important? It can be a matter of focus for all of us.  However,  you can help your child make these decisions by helping them process what needs to be done.

  • Model your priorities and talk about them with your kids.
  • Encourage your teen to write down their priorities or create a vision board to see their priorities.
  • Grid out with your kids the time available and where their priorities fit on the grid.
  • Take time to plan. Have plan A, B and Z.  It’s important to set tasks into motion, but not be rigid.

 

 

Duration

We don’t know how long it takes to get a specific task done. But we do know that we can guess and set a time on our calendar to get a task done.

  • Help your teen create routines that take just 5 minutes. Make their bed, place laundry in the basket and put trash away are 3 small tasks that take less than 5 minutes all together.
  • Create more time awareness with more analog clocks.  Clocks should be in all your spaces to be sure you are gauging your time.
  • Use the 3 minute rule. If it takes less than 3 minutes, just do it.
  • Break big projects or tasks into baby steps.  Map out small sections of a project, assign a time and date to accomplish them.  Nothing seems as overwhelming when it’s broken into smaller chunks.

 

 

Initiation and Procrastination

  • Make it fun to get started.  Find an innovative way to start a project.  You can add in technology or a gadget, work with a partner, or create a new perspective on the project.
  • Schedule the time to start a project. At that time, use a timer, set for 15 minutes, to help you get started.
  • Brain storm the costs of procrastination. What’s at stake? What’s will happen? Is there is compelling reason to do this?
  • Set up a compelling, organized environment.  A clear work space, quiet or white noise, and easy to access school supplies makes it easier to get started.

 

Tools for time management

Planners

 

Focusing apps

 

On your smartphone

  • Clock with timer for getting started and timing how long a task takes
  • Pandora play list for organizing or homework
  • Notes for making lists
  • Reminders and more tech

 

It takes practice, practice, and practice to learn the skills of time management. Don’t get impatient with  your teen on how long it takes.  Every experience is a learning opportunity here.