Like many of you, I recently found myself forced to take many roles because of the global health crisis and quarantine. Of all the added responsibilities, at-home teacher and administrator for my ADHD kiddo is the one I am least prepared to do. But after three weeks of school at home for my middle schooler – and only 1.75 meltdowns between the two of us – I have figured out of a few things that seem to work for us. Here’s a list of 9 ways to support your ADHD kid through distance learning that I hope will work for you too.
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Exercise your patience
I’m going to keep it all the way real – this is not easy work. And it’s going to take much more involvement and organization than you’ve likely ever had to give before. Be patient. With teachers. With your student. With yourself.
As much as the work allows, get your kid away from the computer screen. If you have the ability to print the work, do it. If you don’t, write the instructions down for them to follow offline. Better yet have THEM write it down. Studies show that the brain processes and retains information better when it is written out by hand.
Break large tasks down
This shouldn’t sound unfamiliar if you’ve been dealing with and ADHD learner for a while. But it’s even more important now that the learning medium is no longer a human, but a machine. Break the task down into manageable pieces for them and for you.
Find a means of distraction
This may seem counterintuitive but go with me. ADHD is a challenge in sustained focus. If you purposely give your child a way to periodically divert his/her attention you are controlling their need for a distraction. Using a white noise machine or app, handheld fidgeters, or playing music may occupy the part of their brain that needs a distraction long enough for them to complete the task.
I shared all 9 tips in a video on Facebook. Watch it here or just keep scrolling.
Take lots of breaks
ADHD learners need more frequent breaks from activities that require focus. the younger the student, the more frequent the break is needed. But be that the breaks are not filled with activities that will be difficult to stop. My daughter cannot break herself away from video games, so playing isn’ allowed during breaks.
Create a routine, not a schedule
Strict is better than haphazard. Consistent is better than strict. Schedules and time limits can add pressure. Set the expectation for the order of how your day will go (breakfast, work, break, work, lunch, exercise, etc.) to help reduce the pressure on your child.
If you prefer holistic health over medication treatment aromatherapy is an option worth exploring. We love the Concentrate blend by Rocky Mountain Oils to help Alexandra focus on schoolwork. You can get it in a single bottle or as a part of the Kids Blend Package. Attention Assist works also but is not blended specifically for kids. There are single oils and blends that have been known to increase focus and provide a calming effect for both children and adults.
Let the sun shine in
While not scientifically proven there are studies that show indicators that direct sunlight can have positive effects in reducing ADHD symptoms. Direct sunlight absorbed through the skin inspires the body to produce Vitamin D which is also known to assist in improving your mood.
Physical exercise and movement for hyperactive kiddos is a much-needed release. Exercise also naturally causes the human body to release mood-regulating hormones. Get moving and you’ll both feel better.
The good part is you can do this. Yes, it’s different, but it’s doable. How are you managing this transition to distance learning with your ADHD kid?