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I Am Not An “ADDer”

Posted on August 21, 2014

ADDer1

 

Huh? Did that get your attention?

I have a personal pet peeve that I would like to share with you. Many adults with ADHD like to refer to themselves (and others with ADHD) as being an “ADDer.” Now, I may and probably will get some flack over this statement, but let me explain.

ADHD is only part of who I am. I am a woman who happens to have ADHD. I’m a mother with ADHD. I’m a clinician with ADHD. I parent a (grown) child with ADHD. We are not “ADDers” any more than we are “depressionERs” or “bipolars.”

Why does this irritate me? Well, for a number of reasons. First, I don’t want ADHD to define who I am. ADHD is just part of who and what I am, just like having brown eyes, being right handed and standing 5’8″ tall.

Second, being an “ADDer” sounds trendy or like one belongs to a clique or privileged crowd that is by membership only. Ok, so I’m exaggerating. Many of you would probably say if given a choice, you’d rather hand in your membership card. Or maybe not, but that is for another post.

My gripe with this cute acronym is that ADHD is anything but sweet for many who struggle with hyperactivity, impulsivity or distractibility, among other symptoms of ADHD. For most, it’s no fun having electricity shut off because you’ve forgotten to pay the electric bill. Or perhaps you know very well that the payment is due, but you just can’t….get yourself to… sit down long enough to write out a check. Instead, you procrastinate.

There is often a lifetime of other pains and failures, like broken marriages and relationships that fell apart due to ADHD symptoms that run amok. There is the chronic sense of underachievement, knowing that intelligence isn’t the issue, it’s knowing how to use it.We see our children struggling in school, socially challenged, bullied and for many, behaviorally out of control. Are they ADDers? Or are they children with a significant neurobiological impairment that, if not treated appropriately, can cause a lifetime of struggles? Why make this altered DSM term sound so…cute? To me, it only diminishes the intensity of the challenges people with ADHD face.

For years, parents, advocates, educators, clinicians, researchers and even organizations like CHADD, worked hard to prove that yes, ADHD does exist and it should be considered a true disability so that people can be protected by law whether at school or at work. They prevailed and ADHD was coined a disability that is now covered under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).

On the bright side and yes, I do think there is one, ADHD is by far not a death sentence. Those of us touched by ADHD often feel that there are ADHD traits we would never trade in. There is much talk about ADHD and creativity, sensitivity, empathy, “out of the box” thinking, and more. But are those traits BECAUSE of our ADHD or are they in spite of it?

At any rate, if you wonder why I don’t use the term “ADDer”, it’s because I don’t take this whole thing lightly. I’ve heard too many stories and seen too many tears shed by those who are touched by ADHD and I just can’t bring myself to call any of these folks “ADDers.”

PS Looks like someone else shares my feelings on this. See Dr. Oren Mason’s post at http://attentionality.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/adder-dumb-name/comment-page-1/#comment-249

What’s your take? Do you agree? Disagree? Please post your thoughts below, in the comment section.

 


When Even the ADD Experts Get Thrown for a Loop

Posted on August 18, 2014

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Even experts with ADHD can still struggle with disorganization and clutter.

Listen to Eric Tivers from ADHDreWired.com interview me at the ADDA conference. Find out what strategies I use to tame my ADHD and what still throws me for a loop.
Listen HERE


Breezing into Summer with ADHD: Make the Transition Easier

Posted on August 02, 2014

2014 AttentionMagCover

Read my article, Breezing into Summer with ADHD: Make the Transition Easier, in the latest edition of CHADD’s ATTENTION Magazine (Summer 2014). Just click on the link below:

2014 AttentionMagArticle

Want to read the entire magazine? Join CHADD at www.CHADD.org! This fabulous magazine is available to all members (there’s also a digital version).

 

 


I Lied. The Real Truth About ADHD and Packing

Posted on July 30, 2014

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In my last newsletter, I shared my “Super Duper Packing Tips for ADHD Travelers”, which was prompted by getting myself prepared for the upcoming ADDA conference.

Well, friends, my own advice blew up in my face. And I’m here to tell you all about it. Because if it happened to me, it can, will and probably has…happened to you.

Even with all the strategies I use to help tame my own ADD, it can still (and often does) backfire. After all, I’m only human. And so are you. And no matter how hard we try, no matter how much we understand about our ADD, it can still trip us up. Big time.

Though I started packing and planning for the conference 2 ½ weeks before I was to depart, and had started running lists of what to pack and what needed to be done before I left, I still made a real mess of things.

Here’s my story, which I shared with my attendees at my ADDA session:

  1. Though I picked out outfits weeks ahead of time, I needed to cull back on how much to pack. Did I really need 6 or 7 outfits for a 4-day event? I couldn’t figure it out! What blouse could I wear with another pair of slacks so that I could eliminate having to pack extra outfits? Which purse would work with all outfits? Which shoes? Try as I might, I couldn’t do it, partly because I can’t visualize things in my head (want proof? introduce yourself to me and ask me in 10 minutes how I met you- let alone what your name is).
  1. I didn’t take into account that I also had to get my younger daughter prepared for overnight camp. She had to be dropped off exactly one day before I had to leave for the airport. That meant, preparing two people for travel.
  1. As I knocked off one “to – do” item from my list, I added 10 more. Umm…I don’t know why there always seems to be more, not less work to be done with a strategy like that.
  1. I decided at the last minute to make a major tweak for my conference presentation. That was simply…dumb.

So what did I do?

The biggest help of all was asking my older daughter, Miss Logical Thinker, to help me figure out the outfits. It took her 2 ½ minutes to see that an entire outfit could be eliminated, along with a pair of shoes and a purse. This was magical thinking in my eyes, and I jokingly suggested she must be adopted. Actually, she is adopted, which made us both laugh, making this awful chore just a little less painful. She single handedly transformed my heap of fabric into logical, attractive outfits.

Once that was figured out, she cheerfully suggested we pack everything up while she was there to help. And I cheerfully agreed (secretly relieved beyond words to have her force me to get this part done).

So…I began to pack my stuff. That is, until she shrieked at me: “MOM, WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE YOU DOING??” I looked at her, surprised and truthfully, with my startle response, I jumped about 3 inches off the ground.

“NOW what am I doing wrong, Kate?”

“Mom! That is NOT how you pack a suitcase.”

It looked right to me! I folded things as best I could (a first clue that I was indeed doing it all wrong) before throwing, er…placing them in the suitcase. She grabbed my clothes away and began folding them neatly, in delicate 5-point patterns, more beautiful that a Sushi dinner set for 12 ambassadors. By the time she was done (40 seconds), my suitcase looked like a work of art.

Below is Kate packing and at the top, you can see the final product: my neatly arranged suitcase. I could frame this- not just because she’s my daughter, but because it could be used as a visual cue of how a suitcase should/could look. Like a template, of sorts.

 

KatePackingedited

So what’s my point? It doesn’t matter who you are or how great your planning strategies might be, your ADD will sometimes give you a big kick in the pants. And when it does, well, just call your daughter or son, spouse/partner or best friend, and have them lend you a hand.

What works for you when it’s time to pack for a trip? 

Share your ideas in the Comment section below.


6 Super Duper Packing Tips for ADHD Travelers

Posted on July 15, 2014

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Next week, I’m heading to Orlando for the ADDA conference (you can still register HERE), where I’ll be presenting on “The Secret Lives of Women with ADHD.”

It’s an exciting time to re-connect with old friends, make new friends, network, but most of all, to be with my “tribe”- adults with ADHD. This is the only place in the world where we can be with hundreds of other adults, forgetting names, losing keys, wallets and phones, stumbling and knocking into things…without a single person batting an eye or saying something hurtful. It’s a time to rejuvenate, to laugh (and sometimes cry), sharing our ADHD stories- good and bad.

Of course, it’s also a time to learn all about the latest research and treatment and there are tons and tons of sessions that offer tremendous resources and tips for everyday issues of living with ADHD.

Though you may not be able to attend this year, I do hope you start saving for next year, because it truly is a life altering experience.

ADHD doesn’t go away, but it can be tamed. In fact, my ADHD comes out in full force when I plan my ADDA trip or traveling in general. It can take me a solid week to get everything together: materials for my session, papers printed, child care, pet sitting, etc., but…the hardest thing for me to manage is the dreaded packing.

It makes sense, doesn’t it?

It taps into all of our ADHD challenges: planning, procrastinating, prioritizing, making decisions, and all the rest. As an ADDA family “member” (I was on the board for years and still serve on the professional advisory board), I’m involved in many activities. That calls for oh, about 100 outfits to figure out and pack.

I wish I had a simple solution to offer you- it’s rarely an easy task for us- but here are some tips that have helped me; maybe they will help you, as well, as you head out for a summer vacation.

  1. Keep Records of Past Outfits

For every travel excursion, I keep a record of what I wore, what the occasion was, location and season. This way, I can go back and get ideas for future outfits without having to start from square one. You can even take a photo of each outfit- or even you in the outfit.

 

  1. Essentials

Keep a file on your computer of essentials you need to bring with you, ie medications, toiletries, etc. If you tend to travel a lot, keep a small bag already packed with duplicate items so you can just toss it– or even keep- in your suitcase.

 

  1. First Things First

Pack items you cannot travel without: eyeglasses/contacts, medications, travel documents.

 

  1. Choosing Outfits

Open a computer file (or jot down on paper, if you prefer), listing your itinerary, leaving space to write in your outfits. Yours might look like this:

 

-   Friday night dinner

Navy suit/white blouse/red flats/pearl necklace

 

-   Saturday daytime sightseeing

Jeans/white tshirt/long sleeve white blouse

 

-   Saturday night wedding

Black chiffon dress/patent heels/silver purse/silver necklace

 

Start with the most important outfit. For example, in this case, it’s probably the dress for the wedding. By starting with the most important (or stressful) outfit choice, you will immediately begin to calm down once that decision is off your plate. As you go through your closet and your outfit files, begin to write in the other various outfits you need to pack. Remember to write down everything: shoes, purse, accessories. Be sure to try on everything, to make sure it’s clean and not in need of any mending or alterations.

 

  1. Simplify

Try to simplify. In my case, I’m all about black and white. So I tend to pack one or two black/white or other neutral outfits, then add different colored blouses to go with them, trying to find tops that can work with each outfit.

 

  1. Stop Agonizing

Remind yourself that in most cases, if you forget something, you can find what you need at your destination.

 

BONUS TIPS

 

-       Upon your return, analyze what you would have done differently and add that to your notes. Did you pack too many things? Not enough? Wrong shoes?

-       I’m finding that a lot of people have the same laptop computer as me and during airport screening, it’s easy for someone to accidentally take your computer off the conveyer belt. Purchase a removable decal to identify your computer.

-       What is it with black/ugly luggage? To make yours stand out so it’s easy to find, apply a strip of brightly colored duct tape on each side.

 

How about you? What tips can you share for your fellow ADD travelers? Please share in the Comment section below.

 


Out of Sight, Out of Mind: How to Find your Stuff

Posted on June 30, 2014

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Do you suffer from OOS-OOM?

My friend, Bob, a member of the Adult ADHD Facebook Group, coined that, which is short for “Out of Sight, Out of Mind.” Don’t you love it? It sounds like a meditation mantra, doesn’t it? OOS-OOM…OOS-OOM. The only problem is, Out of Sight, Out of Mind creates stress and tension- not relaxation and peace- for those of us with ADHD. Often times if what we need is not IN OUR FACE, we have no clue where we’ve put something. And that “something” is often important, like…your cell phone, wallet. Stuff like that.

Drawers become evil. Cabinets are black pits. So we toss our stuff on THAT table or THIS nightstand, until things get out of hand and lost in the pile.  Don’t you just love it when you’re searching for some random thing and up pops Grandma Edith’s diamond brooch you’d inherited that you thought you’d put in the safety deposit box at the bank?

Yes…we’ve all been there. No need to hang your head in shame. I’m still looking for Grandpa Dave’s silver dollars he gifted me 50 years ago.

But what’s an ADD gal (or guy) to do?

I recently read a blog post by a non-ADD adult (as far as I know, but…maybe..?) who was so sick and tired of forgetting where she put things, that she developed her own strategy. She talked to herself out loud, like this:

I’m putting my watch on the counter (repeat 3 times). Or, I’m leaving my cellphone in the kitchen. (repeat 3 times).  You get the drift.

I actually think that’s a great tip, unless you’re at work or otherwise in a setting that could disturb people.

We know that folks with ADD do well with visual cues, and I’ve talked about this a lot over the years. One of my biggest ADD nemesis is paper, as in…paper, paper, everywhere. Bills, reports, documents, etc. For years, when I needed to find an important paper, I spent hours searching, to no avail.  Once I learned of my ADD and sought out help, I hired a professional organizer who helped me set up systems. She told me that instead of fighting my need for visual cues, to instead, find ways to make it work for me. So instead of putting things in drawers, boxes, closets, knowing I’d never retrieve them again, we set up a different sort of system. And I use this system to this day.

For important but temporary papers that need to be in my FACE, like invitations, renewal reminders, appointments or whatever, I have a large bulletin board in my home office, nailed onto the closet door so that I can easily see it while I’m working. I have 3 more, but smaller, corkboards, next to that for items that need to be in my line of vision long term.  Pinned on those are passwords, my daughter’s school schedule, important phone numbers, etc.

The downside is that keeping things in view can cause visual clutter. Which is a nice way of saying piles and piles. And I’m not innocent when it comes to paper mountains. I recently found some very cool vintage wire letter bins on Etsy (an example of some are here . I’m beginning to go through my paper piles and putting them in a “do now” bin. I’ll buy a few more bins and use them for later sorting/filing so that at least, the piles aren’t such an eyesore. Before the see- through bin idea, I used manila folders but found that OOS-OOM raged on. You can’t see what’s in a folder, though I suppose the clear plastic ones could work. But for now, I’m going with the vintage look.

What about you? How do you manage your stuff that can easily end up in the black pit? How do you retrieve it without having to use a mantra?

Share your tips in the Comment section below.


Help for your ADD Panic!

Posted on June 25, 2014

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The Queens of Distraction June Special!

LAST WEEK TO JOIN AT SPECIAL RATES

Women with ADHD!

Do you want to:

  • Kick clutter to the curb?
  • See the surface of your tables again?
  • Get started on your projects and start feeling good about yourself?

Come hang out with me in a secret, private room with other women with ADD, who “get” your challenges and are there to offer support.

We meet Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays to get a handle on what is driving you CRAZY. It’s all about taking charge and finally making that decision to dive in. Be a part of this special group- we hold each other accountable but with compassion and understanding. Because we “get” it!


 Register now at our special June rates! But hurry- this won’t last!  

If you’re ready to GET THINGS DONE with fun and support of others with ADD in a fast paced action-based “no looking back” system that works, then this is the group for you.  We’re also open 24/7 for peer support.

Are you ready to:

Tackle your clutter
Kill the procrastinating demon
File and organize your papers
In two words: Get Organized?

Come connect with other women with ADHD and feel safe, accepted and understood.

Register today HERE and feel the relief of getting your life back under control. 
Welcome home!

Questions? Email me at Support@QueensOfDistraction.com  
 

 


Throw down: Terry VS the Self-Cleaning Oven

Posted on June 16, 2014

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When was the last time you looked in your oven? I mean, really looked in your oven, not what you have cooking IN the oven.

I had out of town guests coming and though the house (main floor, anyway) was in decent shape, clutter-wise, I happened to notice that my oven was a mess. You know that type of ADD blindness, don’t you? In this case, it was my suddenly realizing that 3 inches of black muck had found a home at the bottom of what was at one time, a gray oven.

Mind you, mine is a self-cleaning oven. SELF-CLEANING and it’s still a stinking mess.

So what does every woman with ADD do when she’s faced with a cleaning/de-cluttering/organizing dilemma? Some call their moms or sisters. Or best friends (if they are ADD- friendly types). But not me. I go straight to Facebook and scream at the top of my lungs:

 

Facebook 

Terry Matlen: “Why do they call them self-cleaning ovens? I have no clue how to clean the gunk out of mine.”

Now notice the red circle. This post received 28 comments plus the four you can see above. You’d think I was talking about some major current event…like the situation in Iraq, or worse: the Kardashian/Kanye West baby (did they really name her North?)

Some of the suggestions were:

Look it up in the manual

FIND the manual if you can, then look it up

If you cannot find the manual, check online

Ok, now…I know me. I’m not going to search for the manual because I have no idea where I might find it. Best to look online.

Some other suggestions included using vinegar (but how? You dump it in a cup and turn the oven on high? Or use it to scrub the oven?).

One of my favorites was the suggestion to replace the oven. Now that was something I thought doable, until I realized she meant not as a solution for dealing with muck, but because perhaps the self-cleaning mechanism was no longer working. Darn.

So what did I do?

My cleaning crew was due in just before my friends were to arrive. Yes, I have a cleaning service that comes to my house every week to save me from my own wrecking ball of an ADD-laden family. You see, I don’t consider this a luxury; I see it as a necessity. It’s an accommodation I have for my and my family’s ADD (ok, a few of us do not have ADD, so they will remain nameless as I don’t want to embarrass them). But some of us DO, including me, and I know that there is no way I can keep up with this house. Or any house.

So I ask for help. We budget so that we can afford a cleaning lady.

And that kind lady that is brave enough to enter my house every Thursday at 11:35 am took a look at me as I pointed to the oven with a quizzical expression on my face and immediately asked if I was going to offer her some chocolate chip cookies.

I finally communicated my desperate need for her professional help and thinking there was no way in hell she’d take something like that on, I went back to my work and promptly forgot about the whole thing. Sometimes having ADD really is a great thing, y’know?

Hours later, I started getting the kitchen ready for my company. No, I didn’t cook (don’t you know me well enough by now?), but I did need to clear and set the table for our carryout meal. It was a great evening, seeing my friends after 4 years (they live a few thousand miles away). We laughed, chatted and caught up with everything. After they left, I suddenly remembered the muck-ridden oven and took a peek to see if the cleaning lady had made any progress.

I was stunned. The oven was back to its original gray color. So I went back to Facebook and asked how that could be possible. No fumes. No puddles. Nothing. Then I saw a friend’s note that I’d missed before. She said- use a hand vacuum to gather up all the crumbly gunk, then spray the heck out of it with regular oven cleaning spray.

I don’t have oven- cleaning spray and I have no idea where the mini vacuum is.

So next week, when Galina comes, I will ask her what her secret is for cleaning a self-cleaning oven. And then I will post it on Facebook. Stay tuned.

What’s your ADD cleaning nemesis? Share it in the Comment Section below.

By the way, would you like to roll up your sleeves and de-gunk your oven? Or send in those medical insurance bills for payment? How about putting away those winter clothes? Become a Queen of Distraction and join me online, with women just like you and me, to bust the clutter out of your home, out your life. And guess what? We actually have fun doing it!

Take advantage of my special June rates while you can at www.QueensOfDistraction.com

 

 


Don’t Destroy your Boat: Excerpt from “Boy Without Instructions: Surviving the Learning Curve of Parenting a Child with ADHD”, by Penny Williams

Posted on June 02, 2014

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Today’s guest blog is written by Penny Williams, an award-winning blogger. Penny is a freelance writer, author and warrior mom and the author of the new book, Boy Without Instructions, a book I’ve read and highly recommend. As the mother of a child with ADHD and other special needs, I can totally relate to the struggles Penny describes in this incredible book. Read more about Penny below the article and do check out her book  HERE.

Enjoy this excerpt from the book!

Don’t Destroy your Boat

By Penny Williams

Relationships with significant others are tough, even under the best circumstances. Throw some children and a highly-misunderstood behavioral disability in the mix, and they become exponentially tougher. When my son, Ricochet, was first diagnosed with ADHD, my husband and I leaned on each other for support. We discussed all decisions about Ricochet’s ADHD treatment. It was tough, but we were in it together.

I had been obsessed with ADHD since Ricochet’s diagnosis. I surrounded myself with ADHD books, websites, online forums, videos, etc. I was compelled to learn all I could until I had answers for my son. I spent many, many hours a day researching ADHD and an hour or two most days writing about it. Every night at dinner, I hurled ADHD facts and stories all over everyone. My husband came home from a long, hard day at work, sat down to eat dinner with his family, and listened to a diatribe about ADHD.

My obsession with ADHD was ruling my days completely. I awoke thinking about how ADHD was going to make it hard to get Ricochet ready for school. I thought about what he should eat for breakfast to get the most protein to help his brain focus. I watched him walk into the school building, and hoped ADHD didn’t cause too many troubles for him that day. I came home to blog about ADHD, chat with other moms of kids with ADHD, and read, read, read all about ADHD.

I neglected housework to research. I might have taken a shower, but I was worrying about Ricochet at school as I lathered. I read books or magazines about ADHD as I sat in the car line, waiting for school to let out. I immediately asked Ricochet how his day was as he climbed into the car. I couldn’t wait to get home and read the note his teacher sent about his day, hoping for little ADHD-related comments. I fought with Ricochet about homework because ADHD made it so hard. Then his medication would wear off, and it became all about trying to control his behaviors enough to keep everyone from madness and to keep him from destroying the house. Then it was time to beg him to eat dinner because his ADHD medication made him lose his appetite. Then we had to endure the bedtime battle, a battle only because of ADHD. The only time I was not completely absorbed in ADHD was 8-10 pm each night when the kids were in bed, and I vegetated in front of the television so I could stop thinking.

It took more than three years to realize I wasn’t finding answers because I was asking the wrong questions. My burning questions, those that drove me to the point of obsession, didn’t have answers.

Why MY son?

How do I fix his handwriting?

How do I keep him from getting in trouble at school?

How do I keep him from being bullied?

How do I keep him from failing?

I was driven to an insane thirst for all things ADHD because I wanted to “fix” it, but that was an impossibility.

My obsession silently wedged between my husband and me. I saw it coming in his blank stare when I told a story about the child of a “virtual” friend on my Facebook Fan Page, or beneath his belabored sigh when I explained the contents of yet another article on ADHD. I was pushing too hard.

While my obsession was maddening for him, I realized it wasn’t healthy for me either. It was detrimental to everyone in our family, actually. Our lives couldn’t be all about ADHD all the time — ADHD might feel all-consuming, but we couldn’t permit it that power. In fact, our lives shouldn’t be about ADHD at all. For example, say I have seasonal allergies. Does my life become all about allergies all the time? Of course not. I consider my allergy to all things blooming before taking a hike in the peak of spring, but I consider it, treat it, and then go on my hike. I wouldn’t let allergies determine every facet of my life, and the same should be said for ADHD.

I knew my obsession had reached a breaking point when even I grew tired of reading, talking, and thinking about ADHD. I had given ADHD all the power in our family, and I had to make a genuine, concerted effort to regain control. I set a schedule to study and write about ADHD. I worked to think about something other than ADHD when I looked at Ricochet. I stopped feeling sorry for him, and once again focused on discovering and nurturing his gifts. I vowed not to discuss ADHD at the dinner table — if I had something ADHD-related to discuss with my husband, I would do it privately at a different time. I carved out some time to again focus on improving my real estate business. It took an enormous amount of self-awareness and effort, but ADHD no longer controlled my life.

Regaining control over the affect ADHD had on our family began to repair a broken portion of my marriage, too. There’s a wonderful quote from a parent of a child with Fragile X Syndrome that illustrates this beautifully: “I tell couples who sail into a storm and are fighting: ‘Don’t hack at your boat in a storm. If you are in the middle of a crisis, don’t take the very support you have and start whacking at it, because that is dumb. You should love, nurture, and care for the other person or you aren’t going to make it through the storm.’”

We had to stop going after each other over ADHD. Loss of support was a casualty we couldn’t afford.

_____________________________________________________________________________

penny_headshotNEW

A self-described “veteran” parent of a son with ADHD, Penny Williams is the author of the Amazon best-seller about her parenthood in the trenches, Boy Without Instructions: Surviving the Learning Curve of Parenting a Child with ADHD. She is also the creator of the award-winning website, {a mom’s view of ADHD}, and a frequent contributor on parenting a child with ADHD for ADDitude Magazine and other parenting and special needs publications. Look for her second book, What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting ADHD, in late 2014. Follow Penny and get updates about Ricochet at http://BoyWithoutInstructions.com.

 


10 Tips for a Peaceful Bedtime Routine

Posted on May 20, 2014

young girl going to sleep

There are many studies that show the difficulties children with ADHD – and their parents- face at bedtime. Typically, the child’s ADHD medication has worn off, causing his symptoms to reappear, often with a vengeance. As he/she becomes more hyperactive and impulsive, his body needs just the opposite: rest!

What is a parent to do?

               10 Tips for Getting Your Child to Bed

 

  1. Insist that all electronics and other stimulating toys and activities stop one hour before bedtime.
  2. Have a schedule and stick to it with rare exceptions. Post the schedule (in more than one place). For younger children, use diagrams or pictures from magazines.

Clearly state each step of the bedtime routine:

  • What time the child must stop playing
  • Any chores needed to be done (i.e. putting toys away)
  • Snack time, if needed
  • Wash up, brush teeth, shower
  • Change into pajamas
  • Lights out

3.  Warm milk, warm baths- they really do work.

4. Even older children love one – on – one time with parents, whether it’s reading a book together, or sharing the day’s activities. Even many teenagers find this time together calming and special.

5.  Reward your child for every positive move in the right direction. For younger children, keep a jar and add coins to it every time he follows the bedtime schedule.

6.  Remember that children with ADHD get bored with routines quickly and though you want to try and make them the same each night, you’ll need to be creative in making that happen. Once, I was so desperate to get my child to bed, I turned it into a Scavenger Hunt. I wrote each bedtime step on an index card and hid them. Each contained a clue where to find the next card, plus instructions on what needed to be done to get ready for bed. Another parent wrote all the bedtime routines on her child’s bathroom mirror using whiteboard markers. Think of other creative, novel ways to keep your child on track.

7.  Get help! There was a time when things were so difficult in my home, that I hired a sitter a few nights a week to help me. It truly saved my sanity. Insist that your spouse/partner also help. Consider trading off bedtime and morning responsibilities with your partner so neither of you becomes burned out.

8.  Sometimes the child seeks out stimulation by engaging parents in bedtime wars.

Change YOUR habits- try different tactics that remove you from the scene as much as possible. You might be surprised that your child actually gets sleepy when the conflict with you disappears.

9.  Try sensory products. When my daughter was very young, I purchased a special tent that sat on top of her bed. She loved to curl up with her stuffed animals. The security of the tent encompassing her had a calming effect. You can also purchase a weighted blanket- these, too often have a calming effect on children with ADHD. Or…pile a lot of regular blankets on her.

10. De-clutter your child’s room so that he isn’t stimulated visually by all the “stuff” in there or tempted to start playing with toys in the middle of the night.

Many children with ADHD simply cannot unwind at the end of the day. When their daytime meds wear off, their behaviors often become unmanageable and sleep impossible. Discuss with your child’s doctor whether a bedtime medication might be needed to help ease him into sleep.

Remember: you can’t force your child to sleep and you should never suggest that. But you can insist he stay IN bed and rest. Then let nature take its course.