Tips and Tricks to Surviving Remote Learning with Your ADHD'er ( Read through, two freebies to get!)
Is educating your ADHD child during a pandemic making you feel like you’ve reached the end of your rope? Are you also trying to work while providing your child with some form of education? Are you finding it nearly impossible, and even almost sometimes resentful of your school system, your spouse, or even your child? Do you feel like your child is going to be irreparably behind educationally due to what he is not getting from going to in-person school?
Yeah--this is how a lot of parents are feeling right now. This new way of living feels like it is never going to end--like who ever thought we would make good educators for our own children! Yikes!
Well mama...I’m here to tell you that you are doing just fine. Even on the days when you feel like you are completely failing, you are doing just fine. Even on the days your kiddo does ZERO of her assignments, you are doing just fine. Even on the days when all you want to do is curl up in bed and wait until the end of this insane pandemic, you are doing just fine.
You are doing just fine because you are honoring the moment for what it is. Have you looked at it that way yet? Or are you beating yourself up over your perceived failures? My guess is you are probably the second. But wait?...didn’t you know you were supposed to be an expert at (take a deep breath--this is a long one) working full time from home, with your children present 24/7, providing your child with a top notch education, keeping the house clean, making sure to shower and smell good, making gourmet meals, paying your bills, getting 8 hours of sleep, exercising, and eating healthy, and keeping your husband happy all while resources are limited, face to face support is minimal, and you’ve run out of printer ink for the 956347 time since March? So what? Are you saying you’re not an expert at all of this? That your family is lucky if one of these things is accomplished each day? Yeah, I think that’s the vast majority of us my friend. So why are you being so hard on yourself?
Take a moment mama....I know you have your phone in your hand--pull up the camera and switch it to see yourself. Now--pretend you are on a video chat with your best friend and she is telling you all the struggles she is facing with this whole new world we live in--what would you say to her? Say it to yourself--mean it, believe it. Mama, you are doing just fine. And guess what--the most important thing is that you are there for your children. If they can count on you, they will be ok. The education, the formal schooling, that can all be remedied over time. Don’t worry, your child is NOT the only child who is struggling with this. Your child is NOT the only child who has 7 missing assignments on Google Classroom (I think that was my son’s count today...oops). And you mama, are not the only mama who feels like she is failing. I promise you, you are not. You are doing the very best you can in a situation no one has ever experienced, learning on the fly, and meeting multiple demands in a way that has never been tried before in our lifetimes. So, go easy on yourself.
Now that we’ve covered that--taking a deep breath, encouraging yourself like you would your best friend, and realize that you are not ruining your child let’s move on to some ideas and tips to help you survive. Because honestly, that's where most of us are right now--survival mode. If you’re home all day with children, in particular with children with special needs, you are just doing your best to survive.
Numero Uno: You are the parent. Do not forget the importance of that role. Own it. You know what will work best for your child. Trust your gut--if something isn’t working communicate with his educators and work to come up with a solution together that will best meet his needs.
Second: Dealing With All the Major Challenges
Zoom Classes (I think this is becoming a cuss word for many households at this point)
Work with the school to come up with a plan your child can manage. If he can only tolerate 15 minutes at a time--so be it.
Develop a high value reward system for every (yes I mean every) success your child has throughout his school day--you will hear me say over and over again you CANNOT over praise or over reward kids with ADHD.
Allow them to have a snack, or fidget toy during class time
Purchase an exercise ball that they can sit on during class (reward them for not being silly while on the ball as opposed to taking something away if they are).
Allow your child to have multiple sensory systems going--if he can be off video and jumping on a small trampoline during lessons that could be hugely successful.
Juggling their needs with your own need to work
Don’t fight the battle--chances are you have to work to put food on the table, if they just aren’t having it--let it go for now.
Stop putting pressure on yourself about your children missing work or assignments. You guys will get to it eventually--just maybe on the weekend.
Your kids are going to be fine--the better lesson here is if they can see you going with the flow and adjusting to the needs of the moment their ability to adjust and make changes in life will be solid (who wouldn’t want that skill!)
Use your off-times to help your child get caught up--that might mean they do some of their work in the evenings and on the weekends--but if that means you are able to focus on them and help in a way that causes less stress on you both then go with it.
Creating the new version of a routine (AKA don’t focus so much on being strict)
If your child is becoming disruptive, agitated, and clearly in need of a break--give it to him.
Use motor breaks regularly
Have a set of easy to go to activities your child can choose from (download my FREE Activity Box guide here)
Create a Visual Schedule that Gives Your Child Options throughout the Day
Provide very specific choices for activities throughout the day
Give value rewards based on each activity--for example, at 10am your child has the choice to do math (worth 5 points, stickers, whatever) clean his room (worth 3 points) or play video games (worth 1 point).
You are ok with whatever he chooses but at the end of the day the number of points he earns determines the reward he gets--and obviously the best reward will be the one that he can only get by doing the least preferred activity (i.e. math) during more blocks than not.
Download my FREE Daily Planner and Score Chart here
Ditch the screen time guilt and use it to your advantage.
Have an important work meeting--screen
Your boss is calling--screen
But, save it for those times when you really need it and it becomes so incredibly valuable to your kiddo that you won’t hear from them until you look for them when you are finished with your important task
Strive for consistency and predictability over perfection
Again--your child may not start his assignments until after dinner, and finish on the weekend--but if that is what he can expect then it is what it is and it will work.
Reward Reward Reward
Every success during this time deserves a reward
Power struggles are useless and will get you nowhere
We all need to survive this--so whatever it takes to have success, use it. Pokemon cards? Fine. More screen time? Great.
Remember, you don’t work for free, nor should you be expected to--if there was nothing in it for you you wouldn’t do it. Your kids are the same way.
So, those are my real world tips for creating an environment in which you can all hopefully get your needs met more times than not. Like anything, it’s not foolproof and it’s not 100%, but if there are some things in here that you find that make your life a little bit easier than I’ve done my job. And remember mama, one last time--you’re doing fine. Your babies will be fine. Take a deep breath, believe in yourself. You got this--just a little bit longer.