Parenting · school

How to Get the Homework Done and Still Like your Kid (Part 1)

“NOOOOOO” he screams from the top of his lungs while throwing his body to the floor.  He gets up and starts to hit me.  Not hard but just enough so that I know that he is mad.  I take the abuse while giving him several warnings.  If he doesn’t stop he will eventually end up in timeout.

What caused this massive meltdown?  Nope, I didn’t take away his screen time.  I simply said, “It’s time to do homework.”  It’s not always this extreme but some version of this meltdown plays out multiple times per week in our house.

The battle lines are drawn around homework in so many homes around the world but I know this is extreme.  My son is a sweetheart and a cuddle-bug but homework brings out the worst in him.  Why do I put up the abuse?  I know we are working on it.

I’ve discussed the issue with his counselor and we are formulating a game plan.  My son has battled anxiety and there is a strong history of ADHD in our family.  Here are some strategies we are working on:

  1. Creating an environment for studying.  There are some good ideas here.
  2. Make it fun!  He was thrilled when we practiced spelling words by letting him draw the letters in salt that was poured into a cookie sheet.  Here’s a resource for more ways to mix it up..
  3. Let go a little.  Since he’s my second child I have learned to losen the reigns a bit.  Not everything has to be perfect.  As long as most of the work is getting done perfection isn’t worth the battle.

That’s all for right now for my little guy.  BABY STEPS!  I’ve shared an idea here before on how to use visual reminders.  Next week I will share some strategies that we use for homework with my older daughter.

daze-- (1)

What homework headaches do you face with your ADHD kiddo?  Please feel free to share in the comments below.

ADHD · Parenting · Uncategorized

How to Calm Crazy Kids and Feel Like a Good Parent

Are you the parent of those kids that run up and down the aisles of the grocery store?  Do you get the evil eye from the person in front of you at the theater, on an airplane or any other sort of seated public appearance?  Are you worried about what the neighbors might think as the high pitched shrieks of laughter or screams of sibling rivalry bellow from behind your walls?

You are not alone!  Last week my 10 year old daughter and I were hanging out on the pool deck as my son swam laps with his swim team.  It was a special day because later that evening we had tickets to watch Shawn Mendes and Charlie Puth perform.  I was on edge anticipating the ADHD induced sillies to rain on our parade.  My girlfriend and her 2 younger boys came over to say hello.  Her boys were fresh out of the pool and wrapped up in towels to dry off.  Pickles (no, not her real name) walked over to greet them.  I was far enough away to not be able to hear what was going on.  I observed her running circles around the 7 year old boys and repeatedly sticking her face just inches from theirs.  I could tell from their body language that they were less than amused.  Engaged in conversation with my girlfriend this scenario continued for several minutes. Finally I was able to call her name and redirect.

When we were back in my car and safely out of the public eye, I asked her what was going on??

She replied, “I’m just so excited about the concert.”

“I know sweetie. It was obvious from their body language that the boys weren’t happy with your behavior” I responded.

“I know,” she said, “but I didn’t really care.”

SIGH!  I’ll count this as a small win because a few years ago she would have been oblivious to the body language.

I took a deep breath.  I went in knowing this day was going to be a challenge.  The concert tickets were a gift for her birthday (9 months ago) so the buildup of excitement was a lot for any child to handle but Pickles was dealt the ADHD card so regulating her emotions was an even bigger challenge.  I reminded myself of the special parenting approach for my daughter and forged ahead determined to face each moment as it presented itself.  We were making memories!

Shawn
Token Shawn Mendes shot…he’s such a cutie!

The concert was so much better than I had ever expected.  Yes, there were many moments of complete and total unbridled craziness.  I had to remind myself several times to stay calm.  Screaming is never the answer but that is hard to remember when your daughter is screaming at the top of her lungs and bouncing off hotel beds.

How to Parent thru the ADHD Induced Wackiness (or any other moment when you need the kids to turn it down a notch)

This recent “win” gave me the idea of making note of what works to help calm the crazies when it appears like you fed your child a bowl full of sugar for breakfast (and my loyal readers know I would never do such a thing):

  • Get the Wiggles Out
    • If my kids are bouncing off the walls at home and it’s just too much for me to handle I will give them an activity to get that energy out like run 3 laps around the pool or drop and give me 10 burpees
  • Redirecting
    • Going back to my concert example above there are times when you can’t send your kid off to burn up energy.  Try refocusing their attention by playing a game like rock-paper-scissors, freeze dance or charades.  It has to be something entertaining enough to draw their attention.
  • Self Calming
    • I’ll be honest this one is the most difficult for me to execute.  I’m not going to give up because in the long run this is the most effective tool to teach our kids in order for them to succeed in life.  The one tactic I have had the most success with is what we call “snake breathing.”  Teach your child to take a long slow breath in through their nose and then slowly exhale through their mouth while making a hissing sound.

What do you think?  Would this work for your kiddos?  Is there a trick you have up your sleeve to calm the crazies?  Please share your win or struggle by commenting below.

ADHD · Parenting · Uncategorized

Can I Keep my Cool During Summer?

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING ADHDaze

I have such a love/hate relationship with summer.  I love the warm nights hanging out by the pool.  I love the break from homework and stresses of school.  I love the family vacations.  I hate the lack of structure and unpredictable schedule.  I hate the never ending sibling rivalry.  I hate the numerous daily requests to play with any device.

I could go on and on but you get the gist.  I want to take a second here to apologize for my lack of posts here on ADHDaze.  This summer schedule really has gotten the best of me plus I’m working on another big project that I will announce soon!

I wrote about my plans for summer earlier here but this time around I’m in the thick of it.

This is going to have to be a quick post because it’s just minutes until I have to leave again to get the kiddos from camp.  Here are a few things that are helping me keep my cool. Although I have to admit I’ve lost it a few more times than I would like to admit.

Time Timer

We have a firm rule in our house…no more than 1 hour of screentime per day!  This hasn’t slowed the ENDLESS requests I get to watch tv, play on the iPad, play on my phone etc. etc.

time timer
The Time Timer is a good visual reminder of how much time is left for watching TV

I dug our Time Timer out of retirement and started to use it as a visual reminder of how much time is left before the screens go dark.  I can’t say this has eliminated all meltdowns but certainly minimized them.

Amazon to the Rescue (again)

Another lifesaver has been Alexa.   The kids love to use their Echo Dots to play music, play games, check the weather and so much more.  Just yesterday, they figured out how to call each other from one dot to the next.  This provided at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted entertainment (without a single sibling squabble).  It’s been helping me to build my shopping list.  Hubby often forgot (thanks ADHD) to write things down on the list when he’s cooking…now all he has to do is ask Alexa to add it to the list.  GENIUS!!

What’s working for you this summer? 

Please, please, please share your successes

 

ADHD · Parenting

5 Ways to Enjoy Summer with your ADHDer

Anyone else feeling the anxiety of those last few weeks of school?  Not only is our calendar booked almost every single night with baseball games, Open House, choir performances and on and on…but the open ended days of summer loom on the horizon.  Don’t get me wrong I love summer just as much as the next girl but as you know the freedom of unstructured days can spell disaster for a kid with ADHD.

Here’s my top ten list of things you can do to make your summer more enjoyable (or at least minimize the meltdowns)

1. Yep you guessed right….Structure:

I know creating structure comes more naturally for some but if you can even say keep a regular bed and wakeup time Monday-Friday that will help.  Baby steps people!!

2. Camp

Since Pickles is now 10 years old I have had some experience chauffeuring her around to various camps.  I have adopted the philosophy that we have to strike a balance of time at camp versus just time to chill.  Local day camps give kids a chance to develop their strengths and gain self confidence.  I am interested in the idea of sleep away camps and I’ve had my eye on this one.  If the staff and camp are informed of the unique challenges for your kid it can be an amazing experience that will help them grow.

3. Academics

Wait!  Don’t stop reading yet…hear me out on this one.  Many kids with ADHD also struggle with other developmental and learning delays so incorporating a little academics throughout the summer month will help keep them from suffering a “summer setback.”

4. Make a Bucket List

In these last few weeks before school or during the first few days of summer have your kids write down (or brainstorm with you) a list of everything they would like to do this summer.  Of course, make sure they know this is just a wish list but it will make it easier for you to plan some activities.

5. Visit your Local Library

I’m blessed with two little bookworms and a local library with a super cool summer reading program!!  Honestly, my kids beg to go to the library and I try to indulge them each week over the summer (if we are home) but it helps that it is convenient.  If you don’t have a library that is convenient Barnes and Noble is has a summer program for you..

That’s all for this week I have to get back to conquering the calendar.  Please take a minute to join our email list so you don’t miss a thing here at ADHDaze.

 

summer Pinterest (1)

ADHD · Parenting

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

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.

 

IMG_0516

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.

ADHD · anxiety · Parenting

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.

ADHD · Parenting

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.
    IMG_0825
    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.

ADHD · Parenting

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.

ADHD · Parenting

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??

IMG_0719
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.

ADHD · Parenting

How to Build a Community of Parents just like You and Why You Need One

So there you are…walking out of the pediatricians office (and if you are anything like me) with tear-stained cheeks and a heavy heart having just heard that your precious child has ADHD.  Our journey to get here was a long one but if your path was shorter..consider yourself lucky. Now you can start thinking about what’s next.  Some parents grieve and others celebrate the fact that they have finally found the reason behind all of the chaos. Me?  I did a little of both.

Wether you are jumping for joy or drowning your sorrows in a pint of mint chip a crucial first step is to find a community of parents facing similar challenges. “It takes a village to raise a child” is especially important for those parents of children with special needs. I tried to go it alone and hide my daughter’s diagnosis for many years but it wasn’t until I took that very scary first step and opened the doors that the light shone on the possibility for a brighter future.

Finding your Tribe Online

The World Wide Web can be a very overwhelming time suck!!! I’m not going to tell you to avoid doing that Google search on ADHD because I know you will do it…of course you will because I did too. SEVERAL TIMES!! Try to weed out the good stuff and just don’t click on all that negative stuff. Impulse control…yes us parents have to flex that muscle too. Check out the list of a few of my favorite resources below.

ADDitude
CHADD – The National Resource on ADHD
The ADHD Momma

Another little niche of the internet where lots of sympathetic parents hangout is Facebook Groups. I just discovered this gem recently myself.  It has been an amazing resource to vent my frustrations and feel the camaraderie as I read the struggles of other parents just like me.

Here’s how to find them:
log into your FB account
type ADHD in the little search window at the top of your screen
then click on Groups

facebook-screenshot

For me there was a looooong list of groups and you can get very specialized if you want to. Look for just a few that seem to fit for you and ask to join. I wouldn’t go crazy joining too many or your FB notifications might blow up with all the notices as new posts are made.

Hashtags are another way to find other like-minded parents online. Do a search on your social media site of choice, #ADHD or #AHDHparent…you might find inspiration.

Mixing with the Locals

This is the hard one for me. Here I am toting the advantages of building your tribe but I have only taken baby steps to do this on a local level. I mentioned in a prior post that I went public with my family’s struggles with ADHD just last October. After my very public campaign to end the stigma surrounding ADHD I did have quite a few friends reach out to me that were facing similar challenges. We met over coffee or commiserated via text messages. I could feel their fears in exposing their struggles but I always walked away reassured that I’m not alone. One of my goals for ADHDaze is to create a community where parents feel safe to share their journey.

Another way to build your tribe locally is to join your local chapter of CHADD. I have joined mine over a year ago but have yet to attend a meeting. I have lots of excuses (too far away, husband is traveling, etc etc) but I am DOING IT!! No more excuses! The meeting is planned for next week and to show you all (and myself) the importance of building a community I have put it on the calendar.

Why Bother???

This all seems like a lot of work….attending meetings, researching reliable sources and monitoring online groups. Yes it can be and that’s why I resisted building my tribe for such a long time. But consider the alternative, facing what could be a lifelong struggle for your family alone. ADHD can affect almost every aspect of your daily life (social interactions, appetite, travel, school, holidays, the list goes on and on). Why would you want to face this alone? Your tribe is out there and will welcome you with open arms. I hope ADHDaze is a place you can feel safe. For those of you that have taken the first step please share your journey.