Your ADHD Kiddo Needs Routine

As hard as it may seem to get your kiddo to remember what he/she/they needs to do, it is possible to have smooth mornings and quiet bedtimes, but the secret is: ROUTINE. Especially for children with ADHD, falling and staying asleep can be hard so it's important we as parents support our kids in creating a bedtime routine that helps them easily fall asleep and a morning routine that helps them wake up feeling refreshed and not rushed.


For those of us with ADHD the hardest part isn't implementing routine, it's to follow through with it night after night, morning after morning. In fact, we are often excited by the idea of a new routine "I can do this!" however the more often we forget, or screw it up, the more we get frustrated and because low frustration tolerance is a symptom of ADHD, we give up pretty quickly.


So the best thing you can do for your child when implementing a new routine is:


1) Write it down! Make a visual using images and words and put it somewhere that it won't get lost. Perhaps have a whiteboard with morning/bedtime routines on it. Create a sticker chart to refer to and hang it in the bedroom or on the back of the door. Whatever it is, make sure it's somewhere easily visible and that is frequently walked by so your child can remember the steps they need to take. BONUS: Creating this visual can be a fun bonding activity for parents and children to create together!


2) Refer to it EVERY morning and EVERY night until it becomes habit. The ADHD brain doesn't pick up easily on habits like neurotypical brains do so implementing routines is going to take longer for the ADHD brain to get used to--but it doesn't mean it's impossible! So make sure you are constantly reminding your child to refer to the task list instead of just telling them what the task is. For example:


Child: "Mom, I'm ready for bed!"

You: "Which tasks have you completed?" or "What's tasks do you still need to do"?

This is a gentle reminder for them to look at their list instead of assuming they've done everything AND it stops you from highlighting the things they haven't completed yet (which can trigger guilt or frustration). The goal is for this to be your child's responsibility, not yours.


3) Give it time. It is going to take time for your kiddo to be able to do all of this on their own so don't give up if they consistently forget to refer to the task list and/or to do specific tasks. They will get there WITH YOUR SUPPORT. These lists work for children of all ages and of course the earlier you implement them the sooner they will get used to the concept of a bedtime and morning routine.


4) Include Times. When children are older it's important to include what time you expect electronics to be put away and them to be in bed with the lights out so that they can take control and be responsible without you having to nag them.


Luckily for you, this month's freebie is a morning and bedtime routine list that you can create with your child to help them have a smooth morning and easily fall asleep at night. I'd love to see how yours turn out!


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