Back to school with ADHD
With most of the kids heading back to school in the next week or two, a lot of parents will be swinging from the rooftops with excitement, others will be sad, but if you like most parents of children living with ADHD I am sure you are working through mixed emotions.
You are probably happy in some point that they are going back to school to give you a break from the craziness that is sometimes known as ADHD. BUT, on the other side you are probably full of apprehension about what the new school year will bring.
Another teacher that we must “break in” and sometimes “train” in the world of ADHD. You might already know that teacher yourself with your previous contact with the school or you may not know them at all. They may be new or you just haven’t been in contact with them before. Whatever way it goes, it will be another new journey on the path of school and ADHD.
We all know that typically children living with ADHD don’t fit the mould that is known as school so it is a battle for them from the beginning, then add to that an unknown teacher, different classroom, different children in that classroom and an entire different dynamic. This can sometimes be disastrous.
So here are a few of my tips to help you get through the beginning of school and through the year:
- Before school starts, talk to your children as much as you can about it. How are they feeling about it? Are they excited, are they anxious, are they nervous? Ask them what you think it will be like when they go back to school.
- If they are anxious about school, then find out what is worrying them and talk them through it. Maybe do a role play with them about the scenario that they may be anxious about.
- Focus on a friend or two that they may particularly like and they didn’t see over the holidays and bring their attention to that friend rather than what they are worried about.
- Try and organise with your work that you may be late that morning or get the day off and tell your child that you will stay with them for as long as they need if they are worried. My son has a completely new teacher this year (to the school) and he is a bit worried about that, so I have let him know that I will stay for as long as he is comfortable for me to leave given he doesn’t know the teacher. Obviously, I will make a call on the day with that and if I think he is just playing me and telling me he wants me to stay, then I will go. You know your child best and what he/she will want and need.
- Talk with the school as much as possible. Get feedback from the teacher regularly to see how your child is going. Make it known that you are a very hands on parent and you expect feedback from them be it good or bad.
- Be approachable. The last thing a teacher wants is them not being able to approach you about something as they are worried they will get abused or yelled at. There is no gain with this. Sure, you may be frustrated that they are talking to you (many times than once) about an incident or problem, but you need to be approachable so the lines of communication can be open. If they are not, you won’t know there is a problem and therefore you can’t work with them to fix it.
- Lastly, try to understand your child and be patient. Yes, these kids really know how to push our buttons sometimes, but just remember when it comes to school, most time we are trying to put a square peg into a round hole so to speak and they just don’t fit the system. Work with it as much as you can as we currently have no other choice and support them through this. When they finish school there are so many opportunities for them with the right guidance, school is a formality they need to go through and work with at this time.
I would love to hear how your return to school went for you all or if you had a little one just starting school this year, how did that go?
Feel free to share with us on our Facebook page ADHD Beyond the Maze.
Until next time, take care, stay strong and remember you are doing a fantastic job, we are meant to parent these children to do great things!
Paula is an ADHD coach, parent advocate and author who is passionate about helping parents with children living with ADHD and changing society’s opinion on ADHD. Paula is available for speaking events also.
Tagged ADD, ADHD, BEYOND THE MAZE, diagnosis, medication, MISDIAGNOSED, support