Successful Back to School Habits for Children With ADHD or Anxiety

When it comes time to go back to school, a child who struggles with executive functions, or the ability to choose what to do and when, can be stressful. This stress, over time, may lead to anxiety.


For children who are prone to anxious thoughts and behaviors but are not facing ADHD, you may see perfectionistic anxieties and panic over the idea of making a mistake or bringing home the wrong book. These children may also resist turning in work or work very slowly. Make sure to discuss any hearing or vision problem concerns you see with your pediatrician.


What are some of the best ways to help kids get back to school?


One of the simplest methods of helping a child with either ADHD or anxiety face the coming school year is to meet with their teacher and get an extra set of textbooks (if possible) to keep at the house. Teachers who have been working remotely have already created a plan for getting homework information out to families, so the ability to double check your child’s homework requirements and results each night should be straightforward.


6 Strategies for Successful Back to School Habits if You Have ADHD or Anxiety


1) Lay out clothing before bedtime. If your child takes a lunch, let them see you preparing their lunch if this is a worry.

2) Do your best to eat, do homework and go to bed at the same time each evening.

3) Create a homework binder for your child with separators for each subject and a pocket for necessary papers.

4) Make time for motion. Whether they are anxious or struggling with ADHD, movement can be soothing when a child is getting frustrated. Your pediatrician may be able to help you find simple exercises they can do in place.

5) Set a regular wake up time before school starts in the fall to cut down on the number of changes your child has to deal with on that first day back.

6) If possible, get into the school before the first day and help your child get familiar with their locker or desk location and get things organized before their first day back.


What Else can Parents do to Help?

Use a timer. Set a bedtime for everyone and demonstrate good habits by starting your bedtime prep at the same time each night. If it helps your child to wind down, set both a pajama timer and a bedtime timer. You may also do well to set a “lights out” timer on electronics. If you find your child is still struggling after you’ve set these routines in place, it might be a time to visit your pediatrician. We are here to help.