School Daze

by | Sep 30, 2014 | Uncategorized

“The only thing that is constant is change.”  — Heraclitus

For many of us, the fall season signals major change. Most notably, students have transitioned from summer mode to school mode. The lazier days of summer are a distant memory and months of hard work loom on the horizon.

 Initially, most of us look forward to the new school year. There is excitement about reconnecting with school friends, meeting new teachers, and learning new subjects But the excitement can quickly fade as the rigor of the academic year becomes apparent. Alarm clocks are buzzing before dawn. Text books take the place of casual reading. And homework usurps the evenings.

 It can be overwhelming-for students AND parents. The fall season can be particularly challenging for students dealing with ADD/ADHD, learning differences, and other executive functioning challenges. Parents–you are in a unique position to help your child navigate the new academic year. Here are proven strategies to make the ensuing months easier for your child…and you!

  • Establishing routines and structure. Consider what has not worked well over the past few weeks and implement appropriate changes. For example, if it is difficult for your child to get ready in the mornings and out the door on time, work together to create a schedule and checklist that will facilitate the process. Identify tasks that are repetitive and can be systematized. Have your child wake up the same time each morning and follow the same routine. Put a checklist by the door as a reminder of what needs doing and what needs to accompany your child to school. A rote process will make for a smoother morning, and a smoother morning will set the stage for a calmer, more productive day.
  • Create a collaborative plan for completing homework. Work with your child to identify his or her preferred conditions. For example, perhaps your child needs a 30-minute break and a healthy snack after school before starting homework. Or perhaps he would benefit from a brisk walk before cracking open a book. Some children work better in a quiet room. Others prefer background music. Some need a desk while others prefer spreading out on the floor. Determine what works for your child and make it happen.
  • Help your child with time management.Children with executive functioning challenges often have trouble planning and prioritizing their work, and staying on task until it is completed. Spend a few minutes daily with your child to create a written roadmap of what needs to be accomplished. Be sure that you both agree on what needs to be done. If possible, assign time estimates to each task and playfully challenge your child to “beat the clock.”
  • Break down big projects into small pieces.Display boards, research papers, science fair projects, and the like can overwhelm students. Work with your child to make a project plan that breaks the project into small pieces with discrete steps.
  • Create opportunities for down time.Children with executive functioning challenges often work at a slower pace. Thus, it is easy for school routines and homework to crowd out down time. Build into the schedule some time for your child to let loose and enjoy himself.

Perhaps you have other ideas? If so, I’d love to hear what works for you. Feel free to send me an email or leave a comment on my blog. I love hearing about each of your experiences.

I wish you a happy, healthy, productive school year!

Recent Posts

Build Resilience Through Medication

Taking medicine can sometimes be viewed as a sign of weakness because of the stigma a lot of people associate with treatment. However, some studies have demonstrated the true value that medication can have for patients with anxiety disorders -amongst other things. If...

Build Resilience through Meditation

Meditation is one of the most powerful tools available in the service of building resilience into our systems. And, as is so often said about mediation, it is “simple, but not easy.” Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Full Catastrophe Living, defines mindfulness as “paying...

Build Resilience Through Exercise

Exercise is known to be important. You’ve probably heard about the benefits of exercise for cardiovascular health as well as building and maintaining physical strength and flexibility. But exercise has also recently been found to have far reaching and very positive...

Build Resilience Through Diet

Have you ever noticed that if you eat something “unhealthy,” you don’t feel great? For example, if you’re eating gluten when your body is sensitive to it, you may experience exhaustion. Or, if you’re unused to consuming dairy, you might get bloated. Even more than...

Build Resilience Through Sleep

AD/HD and other executive functioning skill challenges can be seen as dysregulations in our systems. In addition to each of our innate challenges, we live in a complex and fast-paced world that can also be seen as dysregulated and is often further dysregulating....

Build Resilience Through Nutrition

Have you ever noticed that if you eat something “unhealthy,” you don’t feel great? For example, if you’re eating gluten when your body is sensitive to it, you may experience exhaustion. Or, if you’re unused to consuming dairy, you might get bloated. Even more than...

It’s Summer… Again!

Summer can be an amazing time to rest and relax without having to worry about the myriad details of busier times of the year. Summer is also a time of disrupted routines, changes in responsibilities, school vacations, travels and the like. Summer and the leisure it...

What a Summer!

We have certainly had an interesting summer.  Thanks to our two political conventions and the Olympics in Rio, there was plenty to keep our attentions occupied and our emotions reeling.  Though this happens every four years, I never get used to the...

Trusting Towards a Meaningful New Year! January 2016

Now that the dust is settling, and we are able to look towards 2016 with more equanimity and less through the lens of the highs and lows of holiday emotion, it’s a good time to contemplate what you would like to affect in...