Does your child struggle with mornings? The cold winter months can be particularly challenging, especially if your child has an early school run.
Establishing a consistent morning routine is essential for children with ADHD. It comes up in my coaching, time and time again. I’ve put together some helpful tips for parents who are looking to create an effective morning routine for their child:
First things first - the success of your child’s morning is likely to depend on the quality of their sleep. It’s important to make sure your child is going to bed and waking up at the same time every day - even on weekends. This can help to regulate their body's sleep-wake cycle.
Create a schedule: Make a list of all the tasks your child needs to do in the morning, such as getting dressed, brushing teeth, eating breakfast, and packing their schoolbag. Write these tasks on a schedule that your child can easily follow.
Prepare the night before: Have your child lay out their clothes for the next day, pack their schoolbag, and put their shoes and any necessary items by the door the night before. This will help to reduce any unnecessary stress in the morning.
Wake up earlier: It can be helpful to wake your child up 15-30 minutes earlier than necessary to give them more time to complete their routine. ADHDers really benefit from having time to snooze before getting out of their bed. This can help to prevent rushing and last-minute stress.
Use visual cues, such as pictures or checklists, to help your child remember what tasks they need to complete. This can be especially helpful for younger children or those who struggle with memory. A freestanding whiteboard with a large display is a great investment!
Break tasks into smaller steps: Some tasks, such as getting dressed or brushing teeth, may feel overwhelming for children with ADHD. Break these tasks down into smaller steps and encourage your child to complete them one step at a time.
Provide positive reinforcement: Remember to praise your child for their efforts and accomplishments during their morning routine. This can help to boost their confidence and motivation for the day. You can even reward them with some screen time if they finish everything extra early.
Remember, every child is unique, and what works for one child may not work for another. Keep an open mind, be patient, and work with your child to create a morning routine that suits their needs and expectations.