For many parents, “back to school” is looking a lot different this year. With so many kids switching to virtual learning due to the novel COVID-19 virus, parents are facing novel challenges of their own. When it comes to parents of children with ADHD, these challenges may seem even more daunting. We’ve come up with a list of tips to help you and your kids succeed in the “classroom.”
Set The Alarm
Having a predictable schedule has been shown to improve symptoms of ADD/ADHD. While it may be tempting to let your kids sleep in and stay in their pajamas all day, it’s important to have a consistent morning, day and bedtime routine. Structure will not only help make your day go smoother, it will also help your child feel safe and secure. During such an uncertain time, it’s especially important to retain some consistency.
Healthy Meals and Snacks
As we covered in our other blog, nutrition can play a role in helping to mitigate symptoms of ADHD. Schedule your child’s meals and snacks at the same time each day. Make sure to place an emphasis on protein at every meal, vegetables, fruit and complex carbohydrates. Keep your pantry stocked with healthy snacks void of processed sugars and food dyes. Meal-prepping can be a great solution because it will force you to plan your grocery runs, lessening the chances of having to go back.
Make Time For “Recess”
Exercise is good for everyone and helps reduce hyperactivity. Going outside during breaks between “classes” is a great way to burn off excess energy. If you decide to venture to a public place, just make sure you and your child can do so safely by following CDC guidelines.
A Place For Learning
Make sure to designate a time and place for learning. Our brains associate environments with certain activities. Do not let them study in their bedroom, it’s for sleep! Instead, set up an area in a quiet part of your house for your child to complete their school work. If space is limited, it’s perfectly okay to set them up in the kitchen or in the living room. Just make sure to eliminate distractions like the TV or snacks.
Limit Screen Time
Although this may be tricky with virtual learning, it’s still important to recognize that screens from TV, cellphones and computers actually stimulate our brains. Too much screen time can lead to over stimulation. Take breaks in between classes to get your kids away from the screen. Leave the TV and cell phones off during the day as if they were at school. It’s also smart to avoid screen time before bedtime, as it can lead to trouble sleeping.
You’ve Got This
There is no book on how to parent (or become a teacher) during a pandemic. However, by following these tips you can help your kids navigate this strange time. Remember to be patient with yourself and that no one is perfect. At NEBA, we believe while being a parent is the best job in the world, it’s also the hardest. We’re here to help in any way we can and let you know that you’re doing an amazing job!