A Survival Guide For Moms With ADHD During The School Year
Whether your child learned remotely or in-person (or got to experience a combination of both) over the past school term, this year has certainly been a whirlwind for parents, teachers, and kids alike.
Unfortunately, when you’re a parent who also has Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), the unexpected changes that are inevitable during the school year — can be tough. And that can be particularly stressful in navigating a hybrid learning environment.
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by symptoms of inattention (difficulty staying focused), hyperactivity (often fidgeting or finding it hard to stay still), and impulsivity (difficulty controlling impulses like interrupting or talking excessively). ADHD symptoms most often appear at work, home, and in social situations — and occur in two or more of these settings.
“Transitions can be hard for adults with ADHD,” says Dana Baker-Williams, a parent and teen coach for adults and children with ADHD. “Adapting to changes that come with the school year can be easier with a little attention to making adjustments, using some organizational strategies and accepting that change is inevitable. The key is planning for it and giving yourself time to ease into it.”
For example, time management can be especially hard for individuals with ADHD, so it’s important to develop strategies to manage your symptoms through some of the unexpected changes or transitions that are inevitable during the school year. Read on for five tips that may help.
1. Establish A Routine
Alyse Bone, LCMHC, a licensed counselor who works with adults with ADHD, recommends establishing a routine during your child’s school year and creating habits to help manage your symptoms.
“Individuals with ADHD can struggle to organize their thoughts, so the more habits and routine you have in place for yourself, the easier it may be to focus when things come up, which can help ease through the transitions,” Bone says. “It is thought that habits are stored in our unconscious, so the energy required to complete the task is minimal.”
Alyssa, 28, a parent with ADHD who also has a son with ADHD, utilizes a planner to stay organized throughout the week, and a voice assistant that keeps her time management in check during the day. To keep their routine, she jokes that her son gets a strict bedtime — but she does, too: “Practice new routines together,” Alyssa says. “The same tips that are good for your kid are good for you too.”
2. Tap Into Support
Tap into technology as an important ally. This might include utilizing your digital calendar and Google Assistant voice reminders to stay on top of important dates, like parent teacher conferences or school events.
If your child also has ADHD, Baker-Williams recommends reviewing your child’s IEP or 504 plan and other support services offered from the school. Consider stocking up on extra school supplies and requesting an extra set of textbooks (or these days, a digital copy!) for at-home use, to have a backup plan in case your child forgets to bring anything home. Plus, it provides some relief when it comes to what your child is carrying to and from school on their backs everyday. Alyssa notes, “As a mom, it’s important for me to make sure that my son is getting the resources he needs at school.”
3. Draft A Team
Having a “team” in place is Alyssa’s most important asset. A team could include your family, friends, therapists, or doctors who can offer support for the day-to-day activities and managing your ADHD symptoms.
For Alyssa, her team is a group of educators and professionals who can help her manage her son’s symptoms during the school year as she manages her own, helping to ease the stressors of being a parent with ADHD. She tries to develop relationships with her son’s teaching staff –– like his teacher, the principal, and his counselor –– and keep lines of communication open throughout the year.
4. Prioritize Managing Your ADHD Symptoms
Alyssa likens her situation to the well-known saying, “Put on your own oxygen mask first.” In order to help her child, she knows she needs to make sure she’s taking full responsibility for herself and prioritizing her own ADHD symptoms before she can help him.
5. Talk To A Doctor About Treatment Plans
In addition to the above tips, talking to your doctor about finding a treatment plan is another way to help manage your symptoms. Your doctor can talk to you about your symptoms and help find the best treatment for you, as everyone with ADHD has different needs.
For Alyssa, it was only after her son was diagnosed with ADHD that she talked to her doctor about the symptoms that she was experiencing herself. Her doctor diagnosed her with ADHD and recommended Vyvanse® (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate)(CII), a prescription medicine used for the treatment of ADHD in patients six years and older, to help manage her symptoms.
Since Vyvanse is a federally controlled stimulant medicine that can be abused or lead to physical or psychological dependence, doctors will ask if you have ever abused or been dependent on alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription medicines. Doctors also want to know about any history and family history of heart conditions and suggest regular blood pressure and heart rate checkups. Patients taking Vyvanse should tell their doctor right away if they have chest pain, shortness of breath, or fainting while taking Vyvanse.
Scroll below for additional Important Safety Information, including Boxed WARNING for Abuse and Dependence. Click here for Medication Guide and discuss with your doctor.
Being a parent can be hard enough, so making sure you’re appropriately managing your symptoms if you have ADHD is key. Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment plan so it’s important to work with a doctor to find something that works for you.
*Alyssa is a paid spokesperson for Takeda.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Takeda is committed to helping ensure the proper use of stimulant medication. Please see the Proper Use of Prescription Stimulant Medication Brochure for additional information.
To learn more about Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate), go to vyvanse.com.
Want to learn more about ADHD? The Attention Deficit Disorder Association, The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) are all great resources.