Parent’s Guide to Getting Your ADHD Student to School On-time

Get your ADHD child out the door on time
The key to getting out of the house on time starts the night before. Since kids with ADHD may have sleep issues, a solid sleep routine can help your child be successful with their morning routine.
Start the sleep ritual early. Turn off any electronic devices well ahead of bedtime. This can be challenging if your student is up late studying, but aim for an early bedtime as much as you can. A sleep app like SleepyTime: Bedtime Calculator can help your child determine what time you they need to get to bed based on when they need to wake up. Taking a hot shower before bed can help the body get into sleep mode. Some kids with ADHD like to settle down with a book on tape or on Audible, but if that is too stimulating a white noise machine or app can help your child tune out noise and settle into sleep easier. If possible, try to avoid evening sports or lessons as these may overstimulate your child, making it more difficult for them to fall asleep. Try different strategies until you come up with a sleep routine that works well for your child.

Waking up can be a challenge for those with ADHD. Some recommend using two alarm clocks, one positioned out of arms’ reach. If the first alarm clock fails to rouse your child, they will need to get out of bed to turn off the second alarm.
Prevent morning stumbling blocks by getting ready the night before. Write up a checklist and go through it with your student each night until it becomes second nature. For younger children include a photo of the task you would like them to perform. Post the checklist where your child performs the task. Here is a sample:
-Homework complete?
-Forms signed?
-PE clothes or sport equipment packed?
-What afterschool activities or appointments are on the calendar the next day?
-Clothes and shoes picked out?
-Showered, teeth brushed?
-Phone plugged in? (not in bedroom)
-Lunch packed?
ADHD specialist Leslie Josel has a brilliant way to help your child get a sense of when certain morning tasks need to be completed. Shown in this short video-tip, Leslie Josel describes “billboarding for time management.” In each room where your child needs to complete a morning task, next to an analog clock, post a large sign which says what time your child needs to be done in that room.
Packing school lunches the night before, can be a big help with staying on track in the morning. Keep the lunch box on the counter as a cue to grab cold items from the fridge.
It may help to write up a simple morning checklist and review it with your student every morning until it becomes second nature. You can include what time each task needs to be complete or set a timer to help your child know when it is time to move to the next task. Here is a sample:
-Bed made?
-Teeth brushed?
-Breakfast eaten?
-Medicine taken?
-Lunch packed?
A healthy protein breakfast is critical, but if you are running late, keep some good protein bars or shakes on hand for the on-the-go breakfast.
Keep the mornings very simple. Keep the TV off so your student doesn’t become absorbed by it. The same goes for video or phone games; It’s difficult to pull children away when they are playing games.
Lastly, attempt to leave the house 5 minutes earlier than you need to. This extra bit of time will give you a little wiggle room for last minute hiccups like lost shoes or missing sweatshirts.