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Today I have a guest post for you! This was written by my friend and co-mommy Lee-Anne. In case you hadn’t noticed Lee-Anne is also one of the admin for our Facebook Community.
I had been thinking of writing a post about developing morning routines and then Lee-Anne mentioned that she would do it! This = winning. (at least for me.) So for this week you are spared my meandering commentary on life with ADHD.
10 expert tips to get out the door
Parents with kids who have ADHD are often driven to screaming in frustration when trying to get out the door in the morning. This frustration is compounded by the fact that parents often do not understand what their children need to successfully transition out of the house and into the day.
Leaving home in the morning is a transition. Children and adults with ADHD have issues with transitions. So it makes sense that a mom with ADHD who is trying to get out of the house will become frustrated when her child, who also has ADHD, seems to be dillydallying around.
Children don’t like running late either. Many children with ADHD have anxiety. Starting the day feeling behind, rushed and upset because mom’s yelling, and knowing you’re going to miss the first part of the lesson will leave them feeling anxious and disappointed in themselves.
Every parenting book will tell you that children need to start being responsible for themselves, but if the executive function system of the brain isn’t operating you will need to implement strategies and coach them through the process one step at a time.
Here are 10 Expert Tips To Get Out The Door Without Screaming (From you or your kids.)
Start the day gently
The first 3 minutes of the morning set the tone for the day. Get them an alarm clock that has a feature that raises the volume slowly and or increases the amount of light in the room. Set an alarm for 20 minutes before you think they need to be awake and tell them they have 15 minutes free time until they hear the second alarm, then they will need to begin their morning routine.
Allot Extra time
Yes you can get ready and out the door in 30 minutes flat, but they can’t. You already know they will get distracted and run into the room 3 times for something… save yourself and them the frustration and build a cushion into your day.
Help them feel prepared
I don’t care how old your child is… NO ONE likes the feeling of not knowing what is in store for the day. Get them a large calendar for their room. Go over it with them. Schedule in activities, tests, projects and things like what their daily schedule is.
For example they may need to know Tuesday is Science and Wednesday is Gym. Colour code these things and review it at the beginning of each week and nightly to make sure they have everything out that they need. (this prevents searching for a swim suit for gym at the last minute.)
Dress for success
Find yourself shaking your head at your child’s fashion choices? They’re not choosing an outfit. They’re grabbing whatever is at hand or catches their eye.
At the beginning of the week help them select outfits based on their calendar and the weather. Either put the outfits on a hanging box system or hang in the closet. Visually divide the closet with dark garment bags so they’re not distracted by something else at the last minute.
Hint: Make sure to include everything. You don’t want them tearing their drawers apart looking for the match to their sock.
Breakfast of Champions
Protein is the word of the day. Avoid high sugar/carb choices. I try to keep meal replacement shakes in the fridge, not ideal but better than them missing breakfast altogether.
Make a list and check it twice
My mom posted a morning routine on my wall. Despite being past the age where it became embarrassing, I kept it up because I looked at it every morning to get my bearings. The list needs to be direct, simple and in chronological order.
Put a picture of something they like on the back of it so they can flip it over when their friends come over. Have another list at their launch pad. This should be a checklist of what they need in their bag daily.
Launch them well
Have a dedicated area for their bag, keys, hat whatever they need so they aren’t running all over the place for them.
Prepare for forgetfulness
If you drive keep a plastic caddy in the car. Keep a water bottle, granola bar, or other snacks. Cash for school trips or lunch, extra pens (for last minute permission forms or the one they forgot) extra sweater, umbrella and sunglasses available. No more running back in for their sweater.
Be clear, be specific, and check in regularly
Don’t ask if they have everything; ask if they have their lunch or library book. Don’t ask if they’re ready ask if they are dressed and have their bag packed.
Miscommunication is very easy. I’m ready to you means dressed with everything ready to go out the door. To them it might mean they’re dressed. And that’s it.
Appreciate how hard they work to meet society’s expectations
As you know, it is exhausting to reign in our brains and complete routine tasks. Point out how smoothly the morning goes when their outfits are picked ahead of time and what a great job they did focusing and getting dressed on time.
Hopefully implementing some strategies will provide some relief in the mornings.
Remember, if you get up late, that is not your child’s fault. <Raises hand.>
Tell them you were late and you would appreciate if they would try to do their tasks as quickly as they can. Then mentally prepare yourself before you start running around in a panic. Take a breath momma – you are doing the best you can!
Lee-Anne McNeil is a wife, mom and certified massage therapist living in Toronto, CA. Visit her blog at: http://spectrumserenity.com for more info on ADHD, Autism, Parenting and more. Follow her on Twitter at @SpctrmSerenity or go HERE
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8 comments on “10 Expert Tips To Get Out The Door Without Screaming”
Hi Liz 🙂 I am an a.d.h.d. adult I would like to ask you for tips on shopping in hectic supermarkets ? when I get into the shop I loose my way completely I have so many choices to make and everything becomes overwealming for me? many thanks Kathy 🙂
Do you have a list when you go shopping? One of the things I plan to talk about in my meal planning class is deciding ahead of time what you/your family is eating for the week and then building a list around that. While at the supermarket if you feel distracted or overwhelmed maybe try earbuds and some music. Do you have a smart phone? You should be able to listen to music and use your shopping app at the same time. If you want hop over to our A Dose of Healthy Distraction Facebook Group! We love answering each others questions over there!
thanks so much Liz I have joined on Facebook and I am now chatting with others, I like this group I need to chat with others who feel the same as me at times we get lonely and it is always good to know we have friends out there who care.:)
Gosh, what gentle and caring, yet practical strategies you’ve included in this Lee-Anne. i felt a real sense of calm as I read each point and could really picture the difference each of these tips would make. Your compassion and understanding of the way children or indeed adults can react to the pressures of the morning. This is an excellent article and have shared.
Thank you so much! I am so happy that you were able to get a sense of calm from my strategies. I hope you or someone you know will be able to apply these to make mornings less stressful.
Thank you for taking the time to comment and share,
And #11: don’t do anything more for your kid than you have to, and don’t badger them too much.
My husband and son both seem to experience some kind of visceral rebellion when told what to do or even reminded. Sometimes you have to either a.) let them experience a little failure or b.) lay off so they’ll actually do what needs to be done. Sometimes dawdling and obstructionism can be a form of rebellion or attention-seeking. Staying calm and conveying the message that you know you can count on them can help a lot.
That said, my son missed his ride to camp with Daddy this morning because he wasn’t ready in time. Daddy left without him, I wasn’t happy, and I told him “I’ll drive you to camp, but it’ll cost you.”
He showed up at camp $2 poorer and still in his pajamas. His PJs will get wet and dirty but I’m cool with that. If he’s not, he’s had the opportunity to learn something. He had clothes covering what needed to be covered, and sometimes you have to set the bar that low 😉
I was just looking over this when you posted!
I started telling my son to meet me in the garage – and it totally worked. He likes to get his shoes on, grab his school stuff and buckle himself in.
At first I didn’t trust him, but now he looks forward to it. I”m not allowed to come down until I hear him yelling for me. 🙂
He did go to school once without his teeth brushed. He had a meltdown in the parking lot about it. But it never happened again. Funny how that works.
I love him giving you $2. Too funny!
Ha! Well, there’s a saying, “let time teach the lesson.” I find that works better than me trying to explain the lesson beforehand. We had a similar meltdown about toothbrushing at night. I’d explained why it’s important, and I’d asked him not to dilly-dally around and get distracted. When he made it hard for me to help with his teeth, I put the toothbrush away and said we’d try again the next night. After a couple times of that things have gone much smoother ever since 😉
R. rarely puts on his shoes before he’s in the car. I hand them to him to put on while we’re driving. Whatever works!