Getting Ready for Back to School with ADHD

Health Writer

It may be hot outside but in just a few weeks, everyone will move into back-to-school mode: shopping for clothes, shoes and school supplies, getting hair-cuts. It is a time of great excitement, kids want to know who is in their class and what teacher they will have, parents, especially those with children with ADHD, have already started worrying about the upcoming school year and how their child is going to do and what problems will come up. During these last few weeks, there are a number of ways parents can prepare to make this a successful school year.

Think about what worked and what didn't work last year. Where did your child have problems? Work to come up with solutions for those problems that you can institute from the very first day of school.


  • If homework time was a daily struggle, talk with your child about why. Was he distracted because homework was usually completed at the kitchen table? The last few weeks of summer might be a great time to plan out a "homework area" in your house. Your child can help with the plans as well as decorating it to make it both pleasant and functional.

  • When purchasing supplies for school, make sure to include supplies for homework. Create a "homework box" that has scissors, paper, pens, pencils, calculator, ruler and whatever else your child might need. Ask your child or children to decorate the box. Then put it away so that the supplies don't slowly disappear between now and the first day of school.

  • Talk about rules for homework now, before school starts. Is your child expected to come home from school and immediately do homework or will they have a short break before homework time starts? Creating a schedule now will insure that, starting from the first week of school, your child will develop a routine.

For more information on ADHDCentral:

Ten Suggestions for Winning the Homework Wars

Handing in Homework Assignments

Five Tips for Time Management for Children and Teens

Home Organization

  • Along with the first day of school comes after-school activities. Be prepared by creating a large, family-friendly calendar with plenty of room to write down each person's activities. Some families find a large white board works well because they are easy to revise. You may also want to have a different color for each person, making it easy to see who needs to be where. Create a pouch on the calendar to hold all of schedules your children come home with, those for sports, school lunch menus or class assignments.

  • Develop a school time schedule. This includes bed-time, meal time, homework time. Place the schedule in the pouch in your family calendar. Have your children start going to bed a few minutes earlier each night to transition from staying up later during the summer and regular bed times during the school year. Begin waking them up a few minutes earlier each morning so rising early isn't such a shock to their system.

For more information on ADHDCentral:

Ten  Ways to Organize Your Children

How a Visual Schedule Can Help Your Child

Choosing After School Activities

School Performance

  • If your child hasn't been reading throughout the summer, now is the time to introduce a new book. Reading during the summer can hone skills and prepare your child to once again begin school work.

  • If your child was weak in any area of school last year, find some ways to review this information. Use websites, worksheets or books and have your child spend about 15 minutes per day working to review information from last year.

For more information on ADHDCentral:

Summertime Reading

Communicating with the Teacher

  • Create a summary of your child's IEP or Section 504. Usually IEPs and Section 504s are created in the spring prior to the next grade. Your child's new teacher should receive a copy but sending in a one to two page summary of the accommodations and services can help.
  • Most teachers are back at school a few weeks before the first day. It may be beneficial to call the school and request an appointment before school even begins. Talk about your child's strengths and weaknesses, what the teacher can do to help and let the teacher know you are involved in your child's education. Set up a regular communication method, such as weekly emails, to be started immediately after school starts. Bring a copy of the summary you wrote of your child's IEP or Section 504.

For more information on ADHDCentral:

How to Write an IEP

Sample IEP

Suggestions for IEPs or Section 504s

Section 504

Section 504 for Children with ADHD