Back to School for Kids with ADHD: 8 Tips To Do It Successfully

By: Dr. Kenny Handelman
Child Psychiatrist and Expert in ADD/ADHD

To download a copy of this free report, just click here: ADHD Back To School Tips

Transitioning from the freedom summer holidays to the structure of being in a classroom can be difficult for children, especially those with ADD or ADHD (I will use ADHD for the rest of this article, but I mean both). To ease the transition, parents should prepare their child for going back to school and gradually re-introduce them to homework. I suggests parents follow these tips to ensure their child with ADHD is ready for school:

1. Changing the routine to suit getting to school can be a real challenge for children with ADHD. Start with the school bedtime and awakening times 2 weeks before school starts, so that your child has time to get used to being up early and being mentally alert for school.

2. Create a list of expectations for the different parts of your child’s day. Put extra planning into the areas of concern from last year – whether that is getting ready in the morning, getting homework done at the end of the day, or other chores or responsibilities.

3. Make a daily schedule for your child that includes recess, lunchtime and any after-school activities. Post it on the fridge where your child can see it the night before and send it to school with them so they know what is expected from them that day

4. Homework can be especially hard for children with ADHD. They may forget to write it down or leave a book at school. It is best to keep a homework log with the teacher and frequently remind your child to bring it and any necessary books home after school. You can also ask the teacher to make sure that your child brings it home each day, and you make sure she/he takes it to school. Create a ‘homework routine’ – designate a certain period of time everyday for your child to complete homework. Be sure to reward them when an assignment is completed

5. Remember that you are your chlid’s advocate at school. Make an effort to speak to the teacher about your child’s learning and behavioral needs early in the school year. Ensure that the resources which can help your child are put into place, and that everyone who needs to provide input is on board.

6. Consider a daily behavioral report card. This can be a useful tool to help parents and teachers communicate. It can also lead to the opportunity to provide frequent, small rewards to encourage your child to keep on track at school.

7. Remain positive with your child, and help them to build on their strengths. Remember that transitioning from summer holidays to school can be especially challenging for children with ADHD. Celebtrate all successes, no matter how small – anything from a good mark, to a good report from the teacher, to making a new friend.

8. Keep track of how your child is doing in the transition back to school. Be sure to review this with your child’s doctor 2-6 weeks after the school year starts.

I hope these tips help you to manage this successfully. Please feel free to leave your comments and suggestions on this post on my blog (just scroll down and enter them in the box below).

Dr. Kenny Handelman

p.s. To learn more about ADD/ADHD, please join my free newsletter: The ADHD Doctor

p.p.s. To learn the secrets to succeeding with ADD/ADHD, in a breakthrough program that I developed with leading researcher and author in ADD/ADHD, Dr. Russell Barkley, visit: Secrets to ADHD Success

p.p.p.s To find the highest recommended books in ADD/ADHD, visit: The ADHD Bookstore or The Canadian ADHD Bookstore

[tags]ADD, ADHD, School Strategies ADHD, Parenting ADHD, Parenting ADD[/tags]

Comments

  1. Hi Dr. Kenny – just wanted to share – my daughter is now going into grade 3 – she has ADD, diagnosed in grade 1 – through several joint meetings with the school (teacher and principal) we started the daily behavior log a couple of years ago, and I wanted to report that it has been an incredible success!

    Part of my daughter’s problems in school involve having to deal with her faulty memory – she just does not remember activity A after doing B, C, D and so on in her day – combined with her inattention, at times it was a nightmare attempting to manage her behavior in the classroom setting that too often resulted in everyone being frustrated by the first parent/teacher meeting. With the daily log, I got feedback from her teachers at the end of the day – we review it with her, and last year her teacher actually had our daughter go through it and help note if it was a good day and she was on track, a bad day in that she disturbed too many of her fellow students, or if there were specific times in the day where her attention was lagging and she had to be consistantly redirected (basically getting her to acknowledge and take ownership of her behavior).

    It really helped us stay on top of her behavior in school, and the teachers all provided positive feedback with the process: in that should an issue came up, it was immediately addressed, and followed up by myself and my husband so that it became less of an issue or totally eliminated, rather than it going on and on. It got to the point we were calling it her “brag” book – as there were times she was so excited she could hardly wait for us to get her from the babysitter and tell us that she was on track all day, and that she had gotten smiley faces and stickers for her good behaviour.

    I really encourage other parents to get their children’s teachers to start something similar as well; it is worth the few minutes it takes the teacher to write a short note detailing any issues that might have come up, in the goodwill and rapport you end up establishing with your child and their teacher will go a long way to a better school year.

  2. Cindy,
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience.
    It is great to hear how successful this strategy was for your daughter.
    I hope that it motivates other parents (and teachers) to use a daily behavioral report card/log.
    Keep up the great work!
    Dr. Kenny

  3. Back to School for Kids with ADHD: 8 Tips To Do It Successfully | ADD ADHD Blog.com…

    Transitioning from the freedom summer holidays to the structure of being in a classroom can be difficult for children, especially those with ADD or ADHD (I will use ADHD for the rest of this article, but I mean both)….

  4. Back to School for Kids with ADHD: 8 Tips To Do It Successfully…

    Transitioning from the freedom summer holidays to the structure of being in a classroom can be difficult for children, especially those with ADD or ADHD (I will use ADHD for the rest of this article, but I mean both)….

  5. Dear Dr Kenny,

    I just tried the link below but it doesn’t seem to be working??……….

    p.s. To learn more about ADD/ADHD, please join my free newsletter: The ADHD Doctor

    Pls could you add my email to your free newsletter list?? – thank you.
    karen

  6. We used a Daily Log during the last half of my son’s 5th grade after hearing from his teacher that he was not doing any work during class…a bit of a learned behavior, we guessed. He and the teacher agreed on a rating from 1-5 for his classroom participation in each subject and he accumulated points over days for a ‘prize’ or if he didn’t reach his ‘daily’ goal, he could not watch TV that evening. It worked wonders! By the end of the year he was getting 4′s and 5′s. Hoping that it will work for middle school too!!

  7. Thanks Dr. Kenny Handelman! I have a brother with ADHD and our main problem is his attention span is so short that he has never completed any activity in school. His classmates were like him but he has the shortest attention span in his class. We’ll follow your tips above as we are certain they will help, knowing they are from you :). Thanks a lot.

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