Dr. Carrie McMillin is a naturopathic physician that specializes in treating adults and children with ADHD and anxiety.
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The abrupt transition to online school last year was less than ideal and has left families dreading virtual classes in the fall. So in order to support a successful year, I have created a Remote Learning Survival Guide, with some simple steps for parents of ADHD kids. Be sure to check out Step 1, Step 2, Step 3, Step 4, and Step 5 before diving into the rest of the guide!
Step 6: Bust out the reward charts
Of course you are very familiar with this step. I feel confident that every parent reading this blog post has used a sticker chart, ticket exchange, or some type of reward system for their child at some point.
I'm guessing that it worked well for a while and then gradually your kiddo lost interest, or you ran out of ideas for rewards, and eventually you abandoned it altogether.
That's totally understandable.
But I'm here to tell you that this remote learning situation is the perfect time to bring one back on board. If you'd like to change it up, here are a few simple options to try:
Earned screen time
Whatever system you are using, there are a few important things to remember:
Make the steps toward a reward small but attainable
Make the reward something that can be achieved within a week or less
Rewards don't have to be physical items
Most likely you will find that excitement and therefore motivation about earning rewards fizzles out over time. When you notice the reward system isn't serving its purpose, switch it up! You may even be able to rotate through the ones that you use. Keeping things interesting is crucial to the ADHD brain, and shiny new objects are our friends.
It can also be a good idea to get your kiddo's input on what type of system and rewards they would be most excited about. Give them some examples of the types of prizes you would be willing to offer and see how they respond. Getting them excited about earning things will help to make sure your plan is a success!
You've got this!
Back to Blog
The abrupt transition to online school last year was less than ideal and has left families dreading virtual classes in the fall. So in order to support a successful year, I have created a Remote Learning Survival Guide, with some simple steps for parents of ADHD kids. Be sure to check out Step 1, Step 2, Step 3, and Step 4 before diving into the rest of the guide!
Step 5: Have a weekly review
I'm assuming that most of us won't have the time or energy to sit next to their child for every online class and every assignment.
We almost certainly will ask things like: "Do you have any homework today?" and "Did you get your math homework done?" Keeping on top of things even to that degree can be a huge task, especially when you have more than one kiddo on top of your own To-Do list!
I can't tell you how many times my daughter has said, "Yep, I finished everything for today" or my son told me, "They didn't assign math homework today" and I left it at that.
But guess what?
They often didn't actually finish what was needed because they didn't read the instructions completely. Or there actually WAS a math assignment, but they weren't paying attention when the teacher mentioned it.
And I wouldn't be surprised if sometimes they weren't being honest with me.
Not because they don't respect me, or they think lying is okay. But sometimes ADHD kids alter the truth because 1) they are impulsive and the response pops into their head, and 2) they fully intend to actually do the assignment in a few minutes so they think it's close enough to the truth.
The link between lying and ADHD could be its very own blog post, but for now let's at least consider it's a possibility.
So how do you get around this?
Schedule a time 1-2 times per week to go over all the assignments from that week. Try to keep the review at 20 minutes or less and at a consistent time (ex. Thursday at 7:00 PM)
This can help to avoid the otherwise inevitable scenario where 2 days before the semester ends you get a notice that your child has 28 missing assignments.
You may find that having an outside person help with these weekly reviews is a better fit for your family. Sometimes your child will be more cooperative working with someone who isn't a parent--and it can improve your relationship to delegate this piece to someone else. Often a high school or college student can serve as a "tutor" that offers more general support instead of teaching a specific subject.
Staying on top of things each week can help to make projects less overwhelming for ADHD kids too. Think of it like straightening your room for 15 minutes at the end of every day instead of waiting until you can't see the floor anymore--small bites are far easier to handle!
You've got this!