A Better Morning Routine for a Kid With ADHD

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Now that you have the background, I'll share that we took her to a counselor recently. We didn't do this because of anything really in particular, we just felt that she was crying a little too much for her age, about not getting her way, and things like that. We just wanted to try and give her some tools to better control how she was feeling.

As we were talking to the counselor, she asked us what we were doing to help with Maddie's ADHD. Not that I hadn't suspected prior that she could have ADHD, but the counselor didn't even ASK if she had it, it was stated as a fact. Having a name and an explanation for the way my daughter behaved made all the difference in the world. It was like the day I found out she needed glasses. Suddenly so many of the things she did made sense, like when she was about 14 months old, and I took her to a play date with several other kids.  All them were fine sitting and listening to the songs and clapping along, but my daughter was off and running. I called my sister crying, thinking what a horrible mother I was since I couldn't get my kid to do the things all the other kids were doing.

Maddie getting ready for school

The other thing the counselor asked was what kind of exercise Maddie was getting, and what was she eating for breakfast. She informed us that carbs can really get an ADHD mind racing, and aggravate her symptoms.

What was she eating in the mornings? Her favorite breakfast was a bagel, or cereal, or waffles, or carbs upon carbs upon carbs. It was easy for me to whip up a bowl of cereal or make her a bagel. I would wake up at about 7 a.m., get her breakfast and ready for school, and leave at about 7:40 a.m. to take her to school. Since I work at 8:00 AM (from home), I wouldn't end up taking a shower until my lunch break.

I made a decision that we needed to change up the morning routine to get her mind ready for the school day, and not overly excited, so she could pay attention more in school. At this time I also decided that both Maddie and I needed to get more exercise. So, I set my alarm for 5:15, and was ready to change up our morning routine. Now this is what happens...

5:15 AM - Wake up, read scriptures, say prayers

5:45 AM - My regular workout (including some High Intensity Interval Training)

6:45 AM - Maddie joins me for a lower intensity workout

7:00 AM - Make breakfast for Maddie which consists of Eggs, Bacon, and Fruit

7:15 AM - Maddie does her checklist while I take a shower

7:40 AM - Off to school

8:00 AM - I start work

Now that we've changed up our morning routine, both of us are ready for the day! Her teacher has informed us that her behavior in class has very much improved. She's always been super smart, and reads well above her age level, but her behavior in class could be disruptive to the other kids. Now that we've changed her breakfast to something that is more healthy for her ADHD symptoms and we are getting some of that excess energy out first thing in the morning, she is able to concentrate in school much more easily. These simple changes we made have made all the difference in the world!

This post is part of BlogHer's Rush Hour Tips editorial series, made possible by Got Milk?

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