During this time of at-home learning, parents supporting children with ADHD may struggle to keep up with their kids’ energy levels and learning styles. To best support your children, appreciate and understand the unique way their brains and bodies work. Often kids with ADHD struggle with slowing down and keeping themselves organized.
Consider which of these tips might be most helpful to your child’s unique brain body system. And, (this has become our daily mantra) be gentle with yourself as you seek to support your child while juggling and managing the other stresses and demands of this time.
Get organized with an agenda and daily planner.
Kids with ADHD struggle with internal organization, so help them create external structure and organization to stay on track and motivated.
- Use a white board to create a daily agenda.
- Give your child a planning book and ask her to copy down the agenda each day. By writing the agenda in an assignment book, your child will learn how to organize the day and prioritize.
- Crossing items off the list as she completes them will give her a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.
- Together, review the agenda at the start and close of each “learning day.”
- Learning how to take initiative and create her own organization will help her as she moves into higher level academia and the workplace.
Ask your child to pause, listen, and repeat.
Often when kids with ADHD hear instructions and explanations, their brains are moving so fast that the information goes in one ear and out the other.
- Ask your child to pause and look at you so you know she’s paying attention.
- Ask her to repeat what she heard to make sure she took in the information. Racing minds quickly forget, as new ideas and thoughts come swiftly.
- Offer visual aids such as memos, pictures, lists, and timers to help her track assignments and stay on track.
Practice slowing down.
Kids who operate fast often need help learning how to manage their energy levels. They benefit from practicing how to slow down so they can better focus.
- Let your child get her energy out before any type of sitting still lesson such as a Zoom class or worksheet. Do physical activity in the morning when energy levels are up!
- Do harder academic things earlier in the day when your child’s brain is less tired and can focus easier.
- If fidget toys work for your child, be sure to have their favorites available. Involve them in the selection.
- Sitting options like wobble chairs, exercise balls, and bean bag chairs can all provide sensory input and greater comfort for restless bodies.
- Play soft, calm music with no words to help her nervous system calm itself. This is especially helpful during homework, worksheets, writing assignments, math problems, and anything she must focus on.
- Incorporate yoga, silent reading, quiet play time, meditation, resting, or tea time as a special “class.” This should be completed off screens, as screens stimulate the nervous system.
- Slow down any lesson before you start. Talk over the logistics, make sure you have what you need, and read any directions. Explain that these steps help her to avoid frustration and errors and help us to be successful.
By helping your child learn to slow down and stay organized, you will be setting her up for success in the future.
Tap into websites that help kids with ADHD learn at home.
To learn more about effectively helping a child with ADHD slow down and engage in learning, check out the links below.
Try yoga videos for kids.
- Cosmic Kids is a wonderful and fun website that includes yoga videos for young children. The host and yoga instructor, Jaime, makes yoga fun by weaving in popular story plots and tons of animation. She also has some wonderful mindfulness and relaxation videos. Check out her yoga channel!