Back to School with ADHD

For kids with ADHD, heading back to school can be a very stressful time. They are facing new classmates, a different teacher, and a new schedule, and all of this can combine to cause some significant anxiety around school. This often results in outbursts at home and struggles around getting ready in the morning or completing homework at night.

Here are a few simple things can help manage this anxiety and set your child up for a fun and successful year:

  • Stick to a schedule. For kids who deal with ADHD, having the same or similar timeline before, during, and after school can help them with time management and give a sense of security and control. Building in down time, homework time, and family time while limiting screen/technology time help your child have a balanced day, while setting aside specific time for self-care and grooming in the morning can reduce the need for frequent reminders.
  • Communicate with the school. Communication with your child’s teacher, school counselor, and principal can help get everyone on the same page on how best to help your child. This can also help to connect you to any available resources that might be useful, such as after-school extracurriculars or tutoring. This can be as simple as attending parents’ night, writing quick notes in a planner, or sending monthly check-in emails.
  • Utilize organization. Help your child start to use tools such as a binder to keep papers straight and a planner to manage assignments. Starting with these tools can keep them on track, preventing having to play catch up later in the year.
  • Encourage your child! Your words of encouragement and praise for positive progress are some of the most helpful tools your child can have. Encourage effort, not just successful outcome, and try to “catch” your child doing the right thing, trying hard, or making small steps.

Molly Halbrooks