When you have a teen with ADHD, getting anywhere on time can be a real struggle. It doesn’t have to be this way though. Set them up for success now, and in the future, with a few new habits that are highly effective and easy to put into practice.
It is commonly thought that with an ADHD diagnosis comes a complete lack of focus. In actuality, it’s having difficulty maintaining focus where needed. This is why lists, alarms, and visual cues are so important in helping those with an ADHD diagnosis stay on track.
Teens with ADHD are quickly growing up and as they do, they won’t just “grow out of” their ADHD. It will travel with them into adulthood, presenting even greater challenges than the ones they are facing now. This is the most likely scenario unless you fill their toolbox with the things they need to know in order to face and conquer these tendencies head-on.
Having a nighttime routine that is tailored to fit their life and goals is a great way to overcome these challenges and live with intention.
It’s been said that a great morning starts the night before. We wholeheartedly believe this is true. With a little planning and prep work on the front end, you and your teen will see positive changes from day one.
What elements go into creating a nighttime routine that works? Well, the basic framework is simple. Then, help your teen tweak it to fit their lifestyle and you both are set to go!
It’s important to have a tool for planning your schedule each day, be it paper or digital. Calendars help teens get into the habit of keeping track of where they need to be and when. Otherwise, practices, homework due dates, and application deadlines can easily slip through the cracks and opportunities are missed.
For a teen with ADHD, visual cues are imperative for staying on track and making sure the important things get taken care of.
Though your teen may have you to cook meals and provide what they need, meal planning and prep is an important skill to teach even now. This is especially true if you have to be out the door early and your child is responsible for fixing their own breakfast, lunch, and/or snacks for the day.
A nutritious meal goes a long way in starting the day off right. No one is at their best on an empty stomach.
How can your teen put this into practice?
Together, you can discuss what types of foods they’d like for their morning and noon meals. Then you can start teaching them shopping and cooking basics.
After learning those skills, it’s time to teach them to prep their breakfast and pack their lunch the night before so it’s one less thing to think about as they are running out the door.
First impressions and putting your best foot forward are habits that should be taught early on. As your teen starts thinking about applying for summer jobs, internships, and even colleges, looking pulled together is imperative.
This doesn’t just go for special occasions though. It’s important to teach teens the value in dressing for success so that they are prepared for whatever the day brings their way.
Setting clothes out the night before is a great habit to start now so that they can put thought into how they want to present themselves to the world.
After checking calendars, prepping meals, and setting out clothes, it’s important to gather key items needed for the next day (homework, gear for sports practices, instrument for a recital, etc) and put them by the door so they aren’t forgotten during the morning rush.
By preparing as many things as they can the night before, your teen can be intentional in working toward current and future goals.
These habits will follow them as they grow up and it will make life less difficult to ease into when they don’t have mom or dad there to be their alarm clock, chef, housekeeper, and chauffeur.
After all, isn’t that what we are doing as parents?
We aren’t raising children. We are raising (hopefully responsible!) adults.
There you have it! Four simple steps to help your teens create a nighttime routine that works! You can modify these as needed, but the framework is still the same. You don’t have to be a boy scout to understand the importance of being prepared.
Routines, both morning and night, can benefit every single one of us. Teaching teens these crucial skills can make the transition into adulthood so much easier for those both with and without a diagnosis.
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