If you have a child with ADHD, you may have resigned yourself to believing you can’t have peaceful mornings. Getting out the door on time is hard, even for a child who doesn’t have trouble with executive function.
What exactly is executive function? Essentially, it is the process that decides how well a person is able to organize thoughts, prioritize tasks, manage their time, and make decisions. Here is a great article from ADDitude that explains it more in-depth.
Fortunately, there are practical things you can do to help your mornings run more smoothly. As an added benefit, taking these steps will set your child up with the skills they need to be successful in their teenage years and beyond.
Let’s jump in, shall we?
Planning ahead is difficult for a child with ADHD. This is an important skill to teach.
Take time at night to prepare for the following day. Help them lay out their clothes for school. Make sure homework is complete and in their backpack by the door. Baths and showers should happen at night when no one is rushed. Assemble lunches and snacks so they are ready to go.
Sit down with your child and create a checklist of all the things that can be done the night before to make mornings easier. Then simply follow it each evening before heading to bed.
It can be hard for a child with ADHD to shut off their brain so they can get a good night’s sleep. Start teaching them early how to prepare their bodies and minds to rest.
Simple habits like no screens after dinner, a calming bath, journaling, and a cup of hot tea can help them ease into bed peacefully.
It’s important to prioritize getting enough sleep. Mornings can be hard anyway. Lack of quality sleep makes them harder.
Our bodies are at their best when we’ve given them time each night to recharge for the next day.
Have you ever heard it said that your voice will eventually become your child’s inner monologue? Well, there’s truth to that. How you speak to them day in and day out is how they’ll eventually speak to themselves.
They feed off of your energy. If you are frazzled and yelling, that’s going to rub off on them and affect their mood. When the day gets started on that note, it’s hard to switch gears and be in a good mood.
Wake up a little before your kids and take some time to center yourself and prepare for the day ahead. This way, when your child gets up, you can give them your full attention and take your time helping them work through the morning routine without feeling rushed.
Your calm energy will set the tone for a much better day for everyone in the home.
When a child has ADHD, lists and reminders are key to staying on task. Visual cues will help keep your morning on track.
What things does your child struggle with in the morning? Help them put together a chart.
It can be as simple as sticky notes or a checklist on the fridge.
Then, work with them to remember to check their list each day.
We are not raising children. We are raising future adults. We need to equip them with the tools they will need for success down the road.
As much as possible, let your kids take ownership over their morning routine. What things can they do for themselves?
Can they lay out their own clothes?
Can they assemble their lunch?
Can they pack their bookbag?
Great! Let them!
This shows them they are capable while teaching great life skills! Plus, your to-do list just got shorter!
Kids love recognition.
Let’s be real. So do adults.
Everyone needs to hear they are doing a good job.
A simple sticker chart is a great way to do this. Every morning they get out the door on time, let them add a sticker. A reward for filling up the chart can be as simple as taking the family out for ice cream or a trip to the park.
Seeing the chart fill up is going to remind them of the great progress they are making each day.
When you take steps to eliminate the morning chaos, everyone will get off to a better start. You’ll see positive changes in your child. They will start to feel less stressed and take on more responsibility.
It’s important to remember not to get discouraged when setbacks happen though. Your child has ADHD and this is something they likely will always struggle with. That’s OK.
We are going for progress, not perfection.
They are only human, after all.
Be sure to share on social media! Let’s help parents empower kids by equipping them with the tools they need to be successful each day.
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