After a long day at school, all teenagers need some downtime. But for teenagers with ADHD, it’s even more important say the experts. We asked Nicki Salfer, founder of Learning Concepts, to provide strategies for after school routines for high school students with ADHD.
5 Tips for Establishing a Routine for ADHD Students:
1. Downtime is important.
It’s easy to over-schedule a teenager, but teenagers with ADHD do not respond well to having to switch from one activity to the next, says Salfer.
“Do not have your teenager going from one program to the next. There really needs to be downtime after school.”
2. Feed them.
In fact, Salfer recommends teenagers with ADHD eat a complete meal shortly after arriving home from school. “I strongly suggest parents serve dinner after school, then a snack later in the evening,” she says. “They are really starving after school and you want to make sure they get a balanced meal so they can focus on homework and activities.”
3. Make time.
Parents and/or caregivers need to make time to just sit and connect with a teenager after school. “I know this is really hard, but if you are sitting there on your phone, the likelihood of your child having a conversation with you is low,” says Salfer. “Connect with your teen for at least 10 minutes. It creates more success for your child and your relationship.”
4. Don’t walk in distracted.
Working parents should try to let go of the stress of their day before arriving home. “If you come home frazzled and your teenager is frazzled, that creates a bad situation,” she explains.
Watch this video to get more details from Salfer on these ADHD high school strategies.
5. Be mindful of how you communicate.
No teenagers like the third-degree from their parents after school—and that includes ADHD students. “Questions like, ‘So how was your day? Were you focused? Did you do better on the reading test?’ are not effective. Remember, they’ve had eight hours in school,” says Salfer. “Don’t ask targeted questions the minute they get home.”
Instead Salfer has these suggestions for how to communicate with teenagers after school:
- Don’t ask targeted questions right away. Instead, talk about your day.
- Wait until your teenager is relaxed to have a conversation. “Give them time to collect their thoughts, relax, get a snack and then you will start hearing them talk,” she says.
- “Start with the stuff that you know goes well for that child, rather than the stuff they struggle with or just saying ‘How was your day?’,” says Salfer. “It might just be, ‘How was lunch?’ or ‘How was recess?’,” she says.