Prepare Your ADD/ADHD Child to Go Back to School

Summer's coming to an end. Don't wait until the zero-hour to get organized. A few simple preparations during those last few weeks will help ease your ADD/ADHD child's transition back to school.

The Grade School Student
Don't expect children with ADD/ADHD to readjust to school-year rules at the drop of a hat. Here are some rules of thumb:

  • Set a bedtime. At least two weeks before school (even if you're on vacation), establish a realistic bedtime that allows your child enough rest and time in the morning to stay on schedule.

  • Get organized. For the ADD/ADHD child, it's never too early to start learning organization skills. Let him help get his room and study area ready for the school year.

  • Buy supplies. Go through each closet and dresser with your child, removing the clothes he has outgrown and making a list of what is needed. Shop early, and buy multiples of basic school supplies so there are extras in case something gets lost — and when ADD's in the picture, something always gets lost!


The High School Student
Teenagers will most likely want to do their own thing to prepare for school. But these communication points are key:

  • Set a budget. Before buying back-to-school clothes and supplies, have your child make a list for you to review. Talk with her about the budget, and give her a calculator to keep track of what she spends.

  • Establish study habits. Talk with your teenager about study time before the first report card. Post study rules as a reminder, and agree upon what will be in her best interest. Some students study best with music in the background, but avoid allowing the TV to be turned on during study hours.
  • Create routines. Structure and routine are the keys to success for an ADD/ADHD student, so talk with your teen about how to go about this. Be clear about the consequences that will result when the rules are disregarded, and don't be afraid to get tough.

  • Give rewards. When you see your child following through with her study commitments, compliment and reward her. By keeping the communication lines open, you can share in the excitement of her high school years.
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