13 Survival Strategies for Moms with ADHD

Tools for managing your child with ADHD — and your own symptoms of adult ADD.

Help for ADD Moms, Part 2

Talk among yourselves.

A family council is one of the most effective tools for dealing with household challenges. Pick a set day to review schedules for the upcoming week, noting any special arrangements or deviations from the routine. Encourage your children to express their opinions about events that affect them—family outings on the weekend or a Friday-night movie that they just have to see. Based on everyone’s input, create a master calendar for the next week.

Post schedules.

Place the calendar for the upcoming week in a location where everyone can see it. At a glance, everybody will know where everyone else is going and what they’re doing. Fewer surprises means fewer misunderstandings and fewer frayed nerves, moments of embarrassment, and disrupted activities.

Use visual reminders.

Color-code items to make them easy to spot and unlikely to be mistaken for someone else’s. JoAnne color-coded her children’s toothbrushes to prevent confusion—and unsanitary oral hygiene practices—during the morning rush.

Get it on tape.

Make a tape recording about what needs to be done. Play it back in the morning. When JoAnne got tired of nagging her children every school morning, she invited them to make their own recordings. The kids thought it was a great idea, and brought a little humor to the recordings, with comments like, “Now brush your teeth, you handsome devil!”

Take a break after work.

Coming home to the ADD zone—a full house of ADD kids—can be overwhelming. Build downtime into your post-work schedule, whether it’s to have a cup of coffee at Starbucks or to take a short drive to a nearby lake or ocean.

Stop making promises.

Life is chaotic enough without making promises to your children that you probably can’t keep. The closest you should come to making a promise is to say, “We’ll see how it goes.” If the opportunity is right, go ahead and offer a pleasant surprise or favor. But don’t lock yourself into anything.

Stay in the game.

Discuss ways for your children to pull you back when they notice you are distracted or daydreaming. Agree upon a “trigger” comment they can use like, “Earth to mom!” This will be a reminder for you to focus on what’s most important—your children.

This article comes from the Fall 2008 issue of ADDitude.

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TAGS: ADHD Parents

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