If you thought time changes and the holidays were exhausting, it pales in comparison to getting your ADHD child back on schedule in the weeks following. An interruption in the routine/schedule of an ADHD child causes him/her to spiral out of control unlike other children. Something as ordinary as a time change (“Springing forward” or “Falling back”) may interrupt your child’s daily routine and take him/her twice as long to recover. The medical explanation for this is the change in circadian rhythm (the internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle). The parental definition is bedtime arguments and morning yelling to drag them out of bed. Modifying the morning and night routines gradually in the weeks leading up to a time change is your best option. Adjusting the routine 10 minutes forward or backward every few days will help.
The same process can be applied during holiday breaks from school. Certainly the last thing you want to do during your days off is stick to a routine, but it is the best way to avoid meltdowns when going back to school. Your child will most likely be the first to say “I’m bored” or “When do we go back to school?” because their ADHD brain is adjusting to the slower pace or lack of stimulation at home. There are many sites such as Educationresources.comwhere you can find everything grouped by age/grade level, as well as ideas for fun activities or stay-at-home creativity. If you are an artist/crafter, then Pinterestis always showcasing new ideas to keep even the ADHD child from being bored.
On the other hand, if you have lots of last minute shopping or a house full of family, he/she may get “wound up.” Be sure to set aside 20-30 minutes before bedtime to start this winding down process. Sleeping habits are difficult maintain, especially with extra guests or long distance travel. This tends to make your little Energizer™ bunny keep going long after everyone else has collapsed. Even then, they may be the first one up, staring you in the face at 6:00 am ready to race into the day. If that’s the case, you will want to find quiet/solitary projects for him/her. For example, check in with the teachers for a reading list or any upcoming writing assignments that may be due after the holidays. A quiet reading break that checks off the reading log requirements or methodical journal writing about all of the holiday excitement helps give your student a much needed break from overstimulation. Finally, remember to keep your reward system in place even if you are traveling. Keeping the routine of good work/study habits will enable the transition to run smoothly and be less stressful for all, even if you skip a day or two for fun and relaxation. You have both earned it!