How to implement a morning routine for your ADHD child

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An effective ADHD morning routine can help you make mornings manageable again. For most households, mornings can be chaotic and disorganized. After all, with kids and getting ready for school and work, mornings have a lot going on in a short period of time.

Mornings might never become restful times, but you should be able to decrease the amount of stress involved with getting ready. Managing ADHD can present enough stress already, and you need to find more ways of reducing ADHD stress. Starting your day off with stress just doesn’t set you up for success and doesn’t create a positive launch for the rest of the day.

To get ready and get going without the stress, focus on implementing an ADHD morning routine that works. In this article, we break down the important elements of what makes an ADHD morning routine effective. We want to give you some insider tips on getting rid of the morning stress and chaos.

Don’t start your days off in a negative mood or with a lurch. Rather, you need to start your days off positive and prepared, ready for the day to come. You should keep in mind that all of this really matters, as how you start impacts the direction the rest of your day will take. Read on for strategies to make sure this happens, both for yourself and for your kids.

Build In Time to Wake Up

If you’re like most people, you need some help getting up in the morning. That is unless you’re a morning person. Certainly, though, few of us would probably put ourselves into the category of morning person.

Most of us find mornings such a struggle because we can’t just seem to wake up and get moving. For many with ADHD, this actually can present an even larger challenge. Many of us know by now that ADHD many times goes hand in hand with trouble sleeping. Sometimes a function of these sleep difficulties also express themselves with trouble waking up in the morning.

For adults with ADHD, this might mean setting multiple alarms to make sure you wake up. To help your kids with ADHD wake up, as a parent, you might need to build in some additional time to wake up in the morning. One effective option might be to wake your child gently 30 minutes to an hour before you actually want them to get up. You can then let them slowly rest and wake for the rest of the time before they actually need to get moving.

Additionally, if you have particular trouble with getting your kids out of bed, you can consider talking to your doctor about when you give them medication in the morning. If they already take ADHD medication in the morning, you might wake them up early to go ahead and give them their medication. Then the medication can start to kick in as they slowly wake up and start moving.

Do All Your Prep the Night Before

Do you ever just feel like you don’t have enough time in the mornings? We can probably all relate to those feelings at one time or another. Possibly some of us have felt that way all this week.

Mornings, more than most parts of your day, can feel rushed and shortened. After all, you really do need to be out of the door at a certain time in order to be at work and at school on time. Your availability to get things done is cut short in the morning.

As a result, in order to really make any ADHD morning routine work well, you need to do some things the night before. You obviously can’t do everything the night before, but you can do some things. For instance, you should try to prepare your kids’ lunches and pack their school bags and set their clothes’ aside.

At the end of a long day, probably the last thing you want to think of is preparing for the next morning. No matter how tired you might feel at night, though, you would probably feel more tired in the morning. For that reason, make the most of your evening especially after your kids go to bed.

With your kids already asleep, you can quickly and efficiently take care of tasks for the next morning. Ultimately, this saves you both time and frustration in your ADHD morning routine.

Cut Out Unnecessary Distractions

Nothing disrupts a routine or schedule quite like distractions. In the same vein, nothing quite sends a morning into chaos quite like distractions. In between waking up, taking showers, getting dressed, eating, and getting out the door, none of us really have a minute to spare. For that reason, in order to make your ADHD morning routine run smoothly, you need to kill all distractions.

Your kids want to watch morning TV or play a quick video game? Does it help you get any closer to getting out the door? No. Then cut it out, and stick to the simple objective of getting everyone ready and moving.

To make mornings run smoothly, you really need to think of your routine as a series of tasks to be completed. First, you must wake up. Second, get dressed. Third, eat. Fourth, get things for work and school. Fifth, get out the door. These tasks might change depending on your specific routine and what you need to have accomplished, but your overall routine should focus solely on completing one task and moving to the next one.

Distractions just take away from completing what needs to get done. You can save distractions that are unproductive for afterschool or other times. If your kids start to get distracted, help to redirect them by telling them that they can do distraction type activities at another time. Save your morning for activities that get you closer to your goal of getting everyone to where they need to be.

Make Breakfast a Priority

In the midst of chaotic mornings, we really need an anchor to keep us grounded. For your ADHD morning routine to be effective, you should make a healthy and nutritious breakfast your anchor. Certainly, sometimes with so much going on, breakfast might seem like an easy thing to give up on. Whatever you do, though, you should do the opposite and make breakfast a priority for everyone.

With that being said, breakfast still can present challenges. For that reason, you need to get creative to ensure breakfast plays a pivotal role in your ADHD morning routine. Some things you can try could include making breakfast the night before, making breakfast before the kids get up, or enlisting your kids to help out and make their own breakfast.

The pivotal thing to keep in mind, though, with any of these options is making sure to only include healthy non-processed food choices. You can’t give your ADHD kids processed cereals with color additives and sugars and not expect their ADHD to go out of control. Instead of sugary cereals or pastries, turn towards healthy fruits and nuts, a smoothie, or an omelet.

By making a healthy breakfast a priority in your ADHD morning routine, you can make sure that your kids have the energy they need to start their day. Additionally, you make sure that your kids eat according to a diet that helps keep their symptoms in check.

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Give Each of Your Kids Their Own Routine and Tasks

If your house resembles mine that means that you only have room in the kitchen or bathroom for one person at a time. This means that everyone simply can’t brush their teeth at the same time. This also means that to make sure everyone completes their morning tasks, you need to give each child their own routine to follow. After you have the routines outlined, you can then stagger them so everyone completes a different activity at a different time.

The best way to stagger routines is to create a separate structure for each person in the family. If you have multiple children, you can have one eat breakfast while the other one gets dressed for school and then switch the roles. To keep the tasks in line and to help everyone know the right order you can create an ADHD morning routine chart. On the chart, you can then put each person’s name and then the order of the activities and tasks they must complete.

By dividing and staggering the tasks, you can avoid any pile up at any one point in the process. You can also possibly avert arguments before they start through separating kids to different areas of the house.

Keep Your Cool

Speaking of avoiding arguments, you need to make sure that you don’t get bogged down with any yourself. Your kids look to you for their pointers. During stressful times, they will take their cue on how to react and behave from how you respond to stress points. For your ADHD morning routine to have any kind of chance of succeeding, as the parent, you need to remember to keep your cool.

Your kids will press your buttons. That’s part of what being a kid is all about. Trust me, even if you don’t remember, you did the same thing to your parents. When you get in the heat of the moment, though, you need to remember that you must act as the adult. You need to help your kids get ready and get everyone out the door regardless of if they try to help or hinder that mission.

If you find that your kids push you close to your breaking point, take a few seconds and step away yourself. Count to ten and regain your composure before continuing to talk to them. You can help the situation most by staying calm and speaking in a consistent authoritative voice. By not resulting to screaming or arguing, you will find that your ADHD morning routine will run a lot smoother.

Make Your Weekend Routine the Same as Your Weekday Routine

Routines only work well if you use them consistently. This goes doubly so for your kids with ADHD. The moment you let your routine slip and then try to go back to it, it might seem that your kids never knew they had a routine in the first place.

For your ADHD morning routine to really sink into your kids’ minds, you need to try to stick with the schedule everyday of the week. Yes, this means Saturday and Sunday, as well. We can already hear the groans.

Yes, this might sound painful at first, especially for you as the parent who just wants to sleep in on a Saturday morning. Just remember, though, routines can make a positive impact on everyone’s health and overall wellbeing, including your own.

Your kids need the structure and the reminder seven days a week of getting up, getting prepared, and getting going. Your body and mind could use that repetition as well, no matter how you might wish for the contrary.

Trust us, sticking to a routine even when you don’t have to, will be well rewarded in the long run. Not only will your kids put up less of a fight after they know how every morning needs to look, but you also will start to feel more accomplished and capable with each day getting up and getting active. After all, we all know that while we might not work on Saturdays or Sundays, we have just as many things to do. Might as well get up and get going just like you would any other day of the week.

Reward Good Behavior

When your kids stick to the routine and follow directions, you need to make sure they know it.  To support your ADHD morning routine and encourage your kids to stick to the schedule, you need to develop a reward system. For instance, you can give your kids a sticker or star for each morning task they complete by themselves. They then either lose a sticker or receive nothing for every task they forget or that you have to help them with.

Then after your kids amass a certain number of stickers, you can give them a reward. The amount of stickers could be ten or twenty or any amount that makes sense for your household and how well your kids behave. Make the goal attainable but not so easy that your kids receive a reward every morning.

You should make the rewards specific to what interests your kids. Rewards could include things such as more time playing video games or a piece of candy or staying up 15 minutes past bedtime. Make sure that you make the rewards intriguing enough to get your kids’ attention. Also, you need to make sure that you don’t forget to follow through with giving out stickers and then rewards when earned.

Ultimately, rewards can help reinforce your ADHD morning routine. Once your kids understand that completing tasks produces rewards, they will begin to want to follow the routine. Over time, the routine will be reinforced and become second nature for your kids.

Help Your Mornings Run Smoother with an ADHD Morning Routine

Managing life while trying to also manage ADHD symptoms can wear anybody out. For parents looking to simplify their ADHD management plan, they need to use as many routines as possible. Routines provide structure and guidance relieving the need for you, as the parent, to micromanage everything.

Here at FastBraiin, we encourage developing routines for different parts of your day. You can have an overall ADHD daily routine, a separate sleep routine, and even a routine for the summer months. In using these different schedules, you can help your child with ADHD learn to manage their ADHD symptoms on their own.

Ultimately, we hope that this article has helped to provide you some direction for putting in place an ADHD morning routine that works for your home. Use the tips outlined here and other places online to start making your mornings less hectic today.