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Good news for people who like trying new things and have a young kid with ADHD
Hope springs eternal
Maybe it’s because the kids are back to school, but a few readers have been offering/asking to talk about some tools they use with their kids with ADHD to help make days a little less fraught. For instance, one reader shared the following in our thread about things that made our summer better:
One of the solves that’s helpful the most: a whiteboard family calendar on the fridge and another whiteboard space where we make lists. At the start of the summer, I had [my daughter] write down her wish list of things to do this summer (eg, beach, bike, ride a pony, zoo, see bunnies and chickens at this cool play garden) and I added 1-2 things I wanted to do too. And, much to my amazement, we actually fucking did them!
I think it helped her to take a longer view. Like, we’re not going to do beach and zoo in the same day but we probably could in the same month. It also helped me slot in things she really wanted to do and use those things for some 1:1 time with me (sans her little sister).
I used the calendar to help her see what camp was happening each week and which parent was doing dropoff and pickup (also a big source of conflict) and what weekend activities we had planned.
It all takes a lot of proactive planning and coaching on my part, which I’ve got plenty of resentment for, but it takes way less effort and energy than dealing with constant meltdowns, so I think it’s a win!
We’ve recently started using this Time Timer whiteboard for her morning routine and the deal is “if you complete the steps we’ve listed, the rest of the time is “tiempo libre” and you can watch TV or play - truly the fastest I’ve ever seen her get dressed. She has way more time before summer camp than school but hoping we can make this work for the school year too.
And another reader let me know about what she’s using with her slightly older ADHD kid:
We are transitioning from a premade checklist to a planning checklist in order to strengthen the 12-year-old’s executive functioning skills. We are using this in conjunction with a premade check list with the intention of weaning her off the premade. I thought I would share.
At my own house, we’ve paid for some interesting tools, toys, and tchotchkes since our kid got diagnosed with ADHD a few years ago (he’s 8 now.) Taken together, these are the ones that cured him entirely without medication or therapy. I’m just kidding! Good ADHD parent joke there.
There is no registry for things to buy if your kid (or you) gets an ADHD diagnosis. Some kids’ strengths are other kids’ weaknesses. One ADHD kid’s deep focus may be another’s fidgety hell. I don’t know if these items will help your kid per se, but some might be useful tools, even for neurotypical kids as well.
As always, these are not referral links or spon and YMMV:
A countdown clock: This timer is almost the same as the “time timer” mentioned above. We put this out to tell our kid when he has to be done doing the thing he wants to do and do the thing he has to do or to remind him that even if he is reading a book, he has 15 minutes to eat breakfast. It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize that just shouting out “Five minutes!” meant nothing to my kid, nor the distant iPhone or kitchen timer. This helps him see how much time he really does have to do things. I think gives him a better sense of time/control, and it’s made him less mad about transitions.
Bedroom clock: Similarly, I don’t have a good reason why it took us so long to put a proper clock in his room to underscore a statement like, “If you get up before 7 please stay in your room so I can work on my Evil Witches newsletter.” The mornings I let him know I need to be left alone, he actually “listens” to the clock and doesn’t come into my bed and start scooting around and bothering the dog when I’m trying to do some morning work. I like how big and visible this clock is for his little nearsighted eyes and that it doesn’t glow in the dark (we don’t need more nighttime distractions).
A lock box for screens/devices. We didn’t start off with this. I’m afraid it became necessary after lots of discovering the Kindle had been snuck into bed, that it had been on at 5 AM, or I’d been told that I was hated because screentime had to come to an end. I have learned a lot about kids with ADHD and how they are with screens, so I no longer lament the need for this box; it just is. I think, honestly, it’s a relief for our kid, to have devices be out of sight, out of reach, out of mind. It might seem a little extreme, but nobody complains about it, and nobody has told me (to my face) that they hate me in a refreshingly long time.
Yoto audio player: Lest you think I am a monster who doesn’t enjoy the benefits of my kid quietly being on a device, I offer the Yoto. I read Kathryn VanArendonk’s write-up of this audio device on Strategist. She seems witchy, and and I immediately had my husband order one for our kid for Christmas (along with headphones.) It’s something semi-electronic our kid can fiddle with and have control over, but he’s listening to audiobooks and music and podcasts, so doesn’t have the same effect the iPad or Madden does.
A membership to the ADHD Dude site: A few friends of mine recommended this site to me. I like that Ryan, its operator, has actionable advice and that I get zero guilt trip or sadness from him. At the same time, it’s sympathetic to the plight of kids with ADHD who have to deal with systems and people who don’t understand how they work. I introduced myself in his user community with a thumbnail sketch of what we were dealing with and he directed me to one of his webinars, which I found really helpful. Listening to his office hours also makes me feel not alone and gives me perspective. My hilarious joke at the top aside, this site/community is just one tool we use among other experts and medication. The ADHD Dude may not be for everyone, but I have gotten some good ideas from him and don’t regret spending the money so far. It can be hard to make time to watch these webinars, but I’m always glad I did.
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The Evil Witches archives live here. I don’t always cover ADHD but when I do it looks sort of like this, or this, or this. If you want to read about what vibrators witches prefer instead, though, you can always go here (and scroll down.)
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One witchy thing
Nabbed from the Insta of, another great ADHD resource: