Keep calm, it’s time for school

Okay so just imagine this scenario:

Jamie. Time to get up. Breakfast is on the table and we are leaving in half an hour. Please be ready with all your things by the front door at 8am.

Ooh. Yes mum. Good morning. I’ll jump out of bed immediately and enjoy a delicious healthy breakfast. I’ve already packed my bag so no problem I’ll be ready. Actually, I’ll meet you by the front door at 7.45am. Love you!

Have you fallen on the floor yet? Choked on your cup of tea? Laughed until your belly hurt?

Ridiculous isn’t it?

Now let’s try a real version….

Jamie. Time to get up.

10 minutes later…

Jamie get up now please.

10 minutes later…

Jamie. Are you up?

5 minutes later…

JAMIE!!!!!!

That’s a bit more realistic.

But it is exhausting.

So how can you make school mornings a bit easier and calmer?

Let me suggest a few things that may help:

SCHEDULE

Make a planner, visual timetable or a check list of the exact order and timings of everything that needs to be done.

This may sound like a military operation, but in reality you have a very tight schedule in the mornings, and unless your child knows what to do, in what order, at what time, they will be hugely distracted and you will be late.

Decide together what the routine is going to be.

WAKE UP

Make the actual waking up time a more pleasant experience. Decide together how they want to be woken up. Should it be with a music alarm, a sunrise alarm clock, opening the curtains or putting on a low light or you gently touching them awake?

CLOTHES

Have these ready the night before. Have everything laid out in the correct order.

CLOCK OR TIMER

Use a kitchen timer or clock. Have the exact picture on the schedule so there is no argument what time you are leaving. Use alarms as reminders. Alexa is great resource as you can ‘Drop In’ if you have one in multiple rooms.

Remember your child has poor working memory, poor organisation and is time blind so needs visual equipment to help.

PHONES, TABLETS, SCREENS

No, just no. Not in the morning. It is too distracting and compelling and will lead to battles and rows. Don’t use the phone for a timer, for an alarm or to listen to music. Little fingers will find YouTube…

BREAKFAST

Decide together what your child really likes. High protein is best for an ADHD brain. And avoid high sugar cereals as they will provide a short burst of energy then crash. If they can’t stomach food too early, buy energy bars they can eat on the way walking, on the bus or in the car. Let school know if they’re skipping breakfast, as they can organise your child to have a snack at school.

Hungry tummies mean hungry brains and lack of focus.

NIGHT BEFORE

Get everything ready and put it by the front door. Letters signed, dinner money put in an envelope, homework sorted.

Make sure the bedtime routine is calm, you’ve had opportunities to talk together to discuss any worries and the environment of the room is cool with low lights and no distractions.

I know that you can put all this in place, and still things won’t go smoothly. That’s the nature of the unpredictabilityย of an ADHD brain.

Don’t beat yourself up. You’re doing your best. But if you invest in some time to change things and do things a bit differently, then maybe, just maybe, you will get out the door on time.

Let me know how you get on.

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