5 Tips to Help Kids with ADHD or Anxiety Thrive When Schooling from Home

"So, what are you doing to manage school this year?"

For parents, that question can bring up overwhelming anxiety as we are all figuring out how to send our kids to school from home. And that’s not even mentioning our kids’ anxious feelings!

In reality, NONE of the school options people are experiencing this year are ideal, and some are just downright impractical. Whether your school district is offering online only – or some hybrid solution – we’re all a little ‘gun-shy’ after the trauma and stress of last spring.

So, we asked parents in our community about their concerns when schooling from home, and they offered up some great suggestions on how to help kids with ADHD or anxiety thrive when schooling from home.

Now some of you, like me, have little ones, and so your daily challenge is more exhaustion than anything – managing the challenge of video kindergarten and entertaining toddlers! But, if your kids are older, and if your child has ADHD or anxiety, here’s what other parents are finding helpful.

5 Tips to Thrive When Schooling from Home

  1. Include kids in creating a daily schedule.
    Create a feeling of independence by including your child in the creation of a daily schedule for schoolwork. There may be a set schedule for Zoom calls or online instruction, but try to find the balance in maintaining a routine with flexibility. Many kids will feel ownership in their school schedule if they have a hand in developing it!
  2. Let kids do schoolwork at their own pace.
    This is, by far, the biggest benefit our community of parents sees to schooling from home – let kids have the freedom to do schoolwork at their own pace. Schedule breaks, and provide flexibility about when your child can take those breaks. Let them move around, fidget, or go outside. Many parents have found their kids with ADHD or anxiety thrive when schooling from home because they can take breaks when they want.
  3. Create motivations to finish schoolwork.
    Kids with ADHD or anxiety often need motivation to finish schoolwork. (And we want to do that without nagging or yelling, am I right?!?!?) Figure out what truly motivates them to do … anything really – chores, get ready for bed, brush their teeth, schoolwork, etc. Whether it’s screen time, video games, or getting to the end of that rewards chart you’ve created, find out what works. Here’s a hint: use PINCH.
  4. Be a body double.
    It may seem like no matter what you do, they just need that one-on-one attention. You may have to be a body double to keep them on task. Now that doesn’t always mean you have to be actively teaching them side-by-side all day, every day – just sit next to them while they do schoolwork and answer any questions they may have. If you’re working from home, you can hopefully work while they work! Sometimes, kids just need you to be in the same space – to be a body double – to help them focus.
  5. Ask your child, "How can I be a better teacher?"
    Finally, ask your child how you’re doing as a teacher. Because of the pandemic, we have all been shoved into a new life that we didn’t expect – and our kids’ opinions often get left out because, well, we’re just trying to keep everything going. So let them be heard – let them feel heard. They may have an easy suggestion for you that completely changes your outlook on schooling from home or hybrid – or they may say they have no suggestions, because you’re doing a great job!

And that's just it, I want to remind you that you are doing an amazing job! We’re all just trying to make the best of a really difficult situation – and what works for your family, might not work for mine. That’s okay.

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There are no easy solutions to schooling from home this year, especially when kids have anxiety or ADHD.

But we can all lean on each other, ask for help, and provide suggestions as we navigate these next few months. Your child with ADHD or anxiety can thrive in online school or homeschool or hybrid school or – whatever! – and yes, you can do a GREAT job in teaching them while they go to school at home!

Worry not. Help is here!

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