Here’s a Quick Way to Head Off Homework Headaches….Take 2

Homework …ugh Homework!!! It’s not a fun topic in any household but if you throw in ADHD or some other learning disability it can go from bad to worse. QUICKLY. I get it. My little guy is only 6 but already the homework headaches have begun. He has not been diagnosed with ADHD but we […]

update: I posted this about a month ago but didn’t realize the video was marked private on YouTube.  Oopsie:)  Here it is again for all of you to see.  I have to admit I’m not always on top of updating this board with our daily schedule but I have been using it for daily reminders for things I need to discuss with the family. BONUS!!!!

Homework …ugh Homework!!! It’s not a fun topic in any household but if you throw in ADHD or some other learning disability it can go from bad to worse. QUICKLY. I get it.

My little guy is only 6 but already the homework headaches have begun. He has not been diagnosed with ADHD but we started behavioral therapy with him at the beginning of the school year since we were seeing signs of anxiety.  His therapist had mentioned creating a daily schedule (similar to what he sees at school).

Check out this video (my first one EVER!) to see my solution.

 

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My dream is that this visual calendar will ward off the major meltdowns that occur anytime the word homework is heard in our house.  Fingers crossed! Please comment below if you try this…and how it works for you.

The Secret about Anxiety (and It’s Link to ADHD)

There’s this really cool train museum not far from where we live.  Inside there’s a kids area with the most elaborate train table setup I’ve ever seen.  About 5 years ago, when Pickles was only 5, we found ourselves there to meet a playgroup on a very rainy day.  The place was PACKED!!  Suddenly she turned to me and said, “mommy I can’t breathe.”

It was a panic attack and I knew it because this wasn’t the first time.  I knelt down beside her and could feel her heart racing and see her gasping for breath.  I calmly told her to close her eyes and just listen to my voice.  I reassured her that everything was ok, held her close and kept repeating myself.  As soon as I saw her breathing become more regular we quickly packed up and headed home.

 

Anxiety, ADHD’s Partner in Crime

Wikipedia defines comorbidity as “the presence of one or more additional diseases or disorders co-occurring with a primary disease or disorder; in the countable sense of the term, a comorbidity is each additional disorder or disease.”

What does that mean?

It means if your child has been diagnosed with ADHD it’s likely they have more than just that challenge to face.  In Pickle’s case, in addition to ADHD she has anxiety and Tourette’s.  There was an OCD diagnosis thrown at us at one point but I’m not convinced.

After doing a deep dive into the world of ADHD, I consider her lucky.  Here’s a list of common comorbid diseases.

Blog Anxiety Pinterest
That is a disturbing list of enemies

Now What?

My philosophy has been knowledge is power.  Keep an eye out for the symptoms of the conditions listed above.  If you suspect you might be facing one of these disorders, do your homework.  You will be better prepared to take on whatever you are up against.

Keep in mind that treatment for one disease might have a chain reaction for another.  For example, Pickles was diagnosed with Tourette’s a few years before her ADHD diagnosis.  When we finally decided to use medications, her tics were really really bad:(  We started out with this in mind and her doctor chose a medication that was less likely to increase her tics.

 

It’s not fair!  ADHD is a big enough challenge but to continue to layer on top these other diseases??!!  Yep, but you do not have to face these challenges alone.  Please follow along with my blog and we can face these demons together.

10 Ways to Prepare for Your Road Trip: ADHD Style

We are about to take off for Spring Break. So ROAD TRIPS are on my mind. As a kid my parents would take us on epic road trips traveling all across the country for weeks on end. These always made for the best memories (and stories).

I’m not sure my family is quite up to that kind of marathon bonding time but I am determined that we can pull off a week. Here’s a quick list of how to plan a successful roadtrip for your family while keeping their ADHD symptoms in check.

  1. Food Pack plenty of healthy snacks. It’s hard to eat healthy on the road.  And what would a vacation be without a daily indulgence?  With all these stumbling blocks it helps to have some familiar and healthy foods stashed in your car or purse for a healthy refuel.
  2. The License Plate Game We have a long drive ahead of us tomorrow.  I know there will be plenty of movies to pass the time but this classic always seems to break up the trip a bit for us.
  3. Magnet Coloring Ok fellow parents this looks super cool and I know my kiddos would love it but we are about 24hours away from departure and I’m not so sure I’m going to pull this off.
  4. Familiar Objects My kids have never been attached to a blanket or a stuffed animal but this is the stuff I am talking about.  Just a little piece of home to make them feel more relaxed.  I won’t be leaving home without a few of their favorite books.
  5. Audiobook Another tactic to break up the long drive is we all decided on a book we would like to listen to during our journey.  We chose the Roald Dahl audio collection.
  6. Make a Plan Kids with ADHD do better when they know what to expect so to the best of your ability include them in making plans and limit the surprises.
  7. Sweet Dreams Our family is so much nicer to be around when we are all well rested!!  This can be a challenge for Pickles (my daughter with ADHD) because even in the best environment she has troubles falling asleep.  I make sure to pack her sleep mask and white noise to ensure a good night’s sleep.
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    Little surprises (bribes) make everyone happy campers. 
  8. The Toy Box This box only gets a seat in the car during long road trips.  I stock it with small gifts the kids can unwrap at key moments (like right before I sense a meltdown is going to hit).  This time I’m making sure to stock it with some sensory toys like stress balls.
  9. Sick Sacks We don’t leave home without them!!  Knock on wood we haven’t had an incident in quite some time but there were a few years there where any long road trip involved at least one puker.  I think it has something to do with sensory issues???
  10. Downtime The last one is the hardest for me.  In order for your ADHD kiddo to have a good trip you have to let them have some time to decompress.  This is hard for me because I really want to cram some action packed fun into every moment but this is a recipe for disaster.

Anyone else have some fun plans for Spring Break??  Ok, enough procrastinating I really need to go finish packing.

Here’s a Quick Way to Head Off Homework Headaches

Homework …ugh Homework!!! It’s not a fun topic in any household but if you throw in ADHD or some other learning disability it can go from bad to worse. QUICKLY. I get it.

My little guy is only 6 but already the homework headaches have begun. He has not been diagnosed with ADHD but we started behavioral therapy with him at the beginning of the school year since we were seeing signs of anxiety.  His therapist had mentioned creating a daily schedule (similar to what he sees at school).

Check out this video (my first one EVER!) to see my solution.

 

 

To create your own fancy dry erase schedule you will need:

  • a frame
  • pretty paper
  • scissors to cut the paper to fit the frame
  • a dry erase marker
  • a dry eraser

My dream is that this visual calendar will ward off the major meltdowns that occur anytime the word homework is heard in our house.  Fingers crossed! Please comment below if you try this…and how it works for you.

Who Else Wants to Understand Why Your ADHD Kiddo Lies?

I hate to admit this but there is a war being fought in my house right now.  It is a power struggle over the use of electronic devices (I have such a love/hate relationship with electronics).  I’m sure this is a battle that is familiar to many of you.  The part that is tearing me apart and causing me to lose sleep is the lying and deceit that my daughter has brought to the battlefield.

I’ll set the scene for you with the first day that I realized this was a problem, a MAJOR problem.  I was going through the nightly ritual of putting my kiddos to bed (hubby was out for the night) when Pickles began questioning me on what my plans were after they had gone to sleep.  I found her question odd but sweetly responded that I had some work to do in the office, tucked her in and then got to work.

After about 20 minutes of work I wandered out of the office and noticed the door to our playroom was open.  We have issues with our dog sneaking into rooms and rummaging through garbage so I shut the door and went back to work.  After about another 20 minutes of work I wandered out again and AGAIN the playroom door was open?!?!  I peeked my head inside and noticed my daughter’s chrome book missing from the charging station (house rule is all electronics stay out of bedrooms).

Suddenly, Pickles earlier questioning made sense and I bolted to her bedroom.  The lights were out and she appeared to be awakened from just having fallen asleep.  I made a beeline to her hiding spot but there was no chrome book.  She asked what I was doing and I told her I knew what she was up to and we would be discussing it in the morning.  She groggily denied it.  Looking back on this now I can’t believe I didn’t come completely unglued but she has sleep issues and I was able to push aside my anger to let her get a good night’s sleep.

The next morning of course we found the chrome book stashed in a new hiding spot in her room.  I was furious and as a consequence she lost her chrome book for a week.  The WORST part was when she finally received her chrome book back she repeated the process that very same day!!  This time it was ugly.  I became that screaming angry mom I never wanted to be.  I do not have the words to describe my emotions for her complete disregard of the rules.

After the anger washed away a little I recognized that this was a war with ADHD and impulse control issues.   I cannot let my relationship with Pickles become a casualty of this battle.  I needed to regroup and come up with a new plan of attack.

Lying as a Developmental Milestone

I decided to do some research.  I was surprised to find many reputable news sources and clinical research supporting the fact that lying is a developmental milestone for children.  Funny I don’t remember filling out a form at our pediatrician’s office that marked this stage of childhood development.

It can begin as early as 2 years old when a child’s executive functioning skills begin to develop.  As a parent we want to trust our children.  According to this Wall Street Journal article “Parents are remarkably bad at detecting their children’s lies. In experimental studies of preschoolers, parents were able to detect accurately when their children were lying only 53% of the time—a little better than chance, according to a 2010 study led by Dr. Talwar. That falls to 33% by the time their kids are 6 to 8 years old. And parents of 9- to 11-year-olds have only about a 1 in 4 chance of knowing when their kids are lying.”  Pickles is 10….am I screwed???

Lying + ADHD = Why Me?

Ok so there’s some evidence that lying is a developmental milestone.  My kids both hit that mark but is an increased likelihood to lie a characteristic of ADHD?  My instincts told me yes based on our experiences dealing with impulse control but I went back to the research.

My suspicions were confirmed.  An ADHD diagnosis does increase the chances your child will tell a lie.  Of course this reality was disappointing but it helps to understand why.  Understood.org lists these challenges:

  • Connecting the now to the future
  • Thinking of, or remembering, consequences (this seems to be our current situation)
  • Organization and time management
  • Understanding how they got to the place of lying to begin with
  • Understanding that it’s the lying that got them in trouble (not what they lied about)
  • Knowing how to fix the original problem behind the lie

So Now What??

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locking ’em up, zip ties to the rescue

I’ve shared the news of our war with both our local CHADD group and my parent coach and here’s the advice I’ve received.

  1. Sit down with Pickles and write out a contract on the rules for using electronics (we did this and while I think it was good dialogue she went right back to breaking the rules just days later)
  2. When it’s time for bed the electronics go on lock down (after another battle was waged just days ago I’m ready to move to this tactic)

Pickles needs to take ownership for her actions and of course when she breaks the rules she will have a consequence but to win this war we need to be on the same side of the battle lines.  It’s us vs. ADHD not mom vs. child.  I know she has been dealt some difficult obstacles to overcome and I need to take a deep breath and give her the tools she needs so we can fight this battle together.

How to Revamp St. Patrick’s Day for ADHD

I love making little holidays special for my family. In all honesty I think I like it even more than the big hitters like Christmas and birthdays because there isn’t all the pressure and high expectations. With my new focus on raising a healthy family touched by ADHD, I was worried about our old traditions.

 

St Patrick’s Day of Yesterday

In the past my kiddos would wake on St. Patrick’s Day to find the house ransacked by the pesky leprechaun. Some of the furniture would be askew, a trail of gold coins and lots of liquids would be turned green. (A little much but my kids eat it up!) Breakfast would consist of Lucky Charms (the one time of year that I buy them), green milk and some fruit and bacon thrown in there for a little nutrition.

 

This Year’s Menu

As I’ve mentioned here before food dyes are now off the list. It doesn’t take a genius to realize Lucky Charms don’t get so bright naturally and of course the leprechaun’s main weapon to magically transform all the fluid green is green food dye. So I had to do a little research and I was able to find a few new products to keep our house festive this year. I bought this new food coloring that uses natural ingredients.  I’m crossing my fingers that it will work the same (and doesn’t have a funky taste).

Finding a substitute for Lucky Charms was not as easy!!  I did a quick google search and found a few cereals that might fit the bill here and here.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get my hands on any of those in time for the big day so I sent my hubby to Whole Foods.  He came home with this one.  Fingers crossed they don’t miss their Lucky Charms.

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Working diligently on his leprechaun trap

This Year’s Activities

My son has already built his leprechaun trap.  I find it so adorable how excited he gets about the holidays.  In researching this post I found countless projects on Pinterest.  The big win about the projects I’ve listed below is that in addition to getting into the Irish spirit it also allows my kiddos to meet their sensory needs.  Both of my kids are sensory seekers and Pickles has been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder.  I’m hoping to find the time to recreate one of these.  My kids will have a babysitter this year for St. Patty’s day…would it be cruel to equip them with the materials for a messy craft?  Hmmmmm

10 St. Patrick’s Day ideas for Sensory Bins by The Jenny Evolution

Rainbow Themed Activities by Nurture Store

Super Easy Gold Slime by Fun-A-Day

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!!  Wishin you a pot o gold and all the joy your heart can hold!

 

 

 

Help Me Help You

I started my blog at ADHDaze.com 5 months ago as an extension of my ADHD awareness campaign.  I have loved diving in deeper to the world of ADHD to better help my family and share our story in hopes that it also will inspire others on this same journey.

Now I am at a cross roads and need your help.  I would like to take this project to the next level by offering a product or service to all of you.  I have a few ideas but I really really REALLY want to hear back from you to make this successful.

Please take a few minutes to fill out this survey and help me help you!!  I promise it will only take a minute because nobody likes filling out surveys.

As an incentive one lucky respondent will receive a gift basket from my friend over at H2O at Home. H2O at Home is a company that offers safe, non-toxic home and personal care products. Their eco-friendly formulas reduce your use of chemicals by 90%. It’s safe, simple and it works!

Take survey here. Thank You!!!!