During the summer, kids can stay up late, sleep in, and spend hours running around outside. There’s no need to sit still and no schedules to follow. But all that changes as families transition back into school routines. A new school year can be especially difficult for kids with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). New teachers, new routines, and new assignments can create a challenge.
If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, follow these tips to help him or her succeed in school.
Practice Structure Early
Talk about any new transitions in advance so your child knows what to expect. Practice your routine ahead of time to ease your child into the new semester’s schedule.
If you decreased dosage or stopped administering ADHD medication over the summer, resume your child’s recommended dosage so the medication will be in his or her system for school.
Set Goals and Establish Rewards
Create positive expectations for your child by setting goals for the school year. Ask what he or she wants to accomplish academically and socially, and help your child develop steps for achieving those goals. Develop a reward system that frequently reinforces progress toward those objectives.
Some goals might include completing weekly assignments or keeping behavior scores, such as daily conduct grades, within a certain range. Consistent, small rewards encourage children to make steady progress. Use daily rewards, like 15 minutes of extra entertainment time, or weekly rewards, like getting to stay up late on the weekend. For big milestones like improved report cards, offer rewards such as a trip to the zoo or a sleepover with friends.
Meet the Teacher
Meet with your child’s teacher at the start of the year. Find out about homework expectations and major school projects. Let teachers know that you will support their efforts to help your child reach academic goals. Check in regularly with your child’s teachers to let them know you want to stay involved.
If your child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP), a 504 plan, or if he or she will be taking state tests, attend meetings at the beginning of the school year to review your child’s accommodations and to learn about learning resources that are available through the school.
If you have questions about ADHD, your pediatrician can help. Pediatric Associates of Franklin can partner with you to keep your child focused and happy throughout the school year. Schedule an appointment today.