Are the most effective solutions sometimes the simplest? For ADHD kids and their parents alike, the answer is Yes.
by Sarah Kaczmarek
Here we are, more than a week after Christmas, and my front room looks as though I run a full-fledged daycare center.
I’ve resolved myself to the fact that my furniture will remain piled elsewhere until my girls finish playing with toys. I’ve resolved myself to the fact that we’ll need to find homes for the many (MANY) new gifts they received. And I’ve shirked off some of the associated stress thinking about the fact that my ADHD daughter Hadley has already spent more time drawing on her new art easel than she has playing with any other toy.
Another favorite: The matching Twinkle Toes Sketchers, which I clearly did not think out. Hadley gets into trouble with flip flops at school; I can only imagine what will happen when she returns to the classroom in shoes that light up each time you walk.
My biggest immediate regret: The Tinkerbell alarm clock that arrived with a scratch on the front. Upon opening it, Hadley said, “You should have bought a Princess alarm clock to match my room.” Strike One.
I set the alarm clock and tuck Hadley into bed around 7:30 pm after a long Christmas day. Two hours later, I return upstairs to find her alarm has been going off for an hour and a half – and she’s still sound asleep. What a waste of $14, I think. Strike Two.
Two nights later, Hadley wants to set her alarm. I don’t tell her the buzzer isn’t very loud. I don’t tell her I think the thing is worthless. She’s so excited to have her own alarm clock I don’t want to burst her bubble. I set the alarm for 6:00 am and give myself a mental reminder to check on her in the morning. Before we head to bed Lenny says, “That thing is never going to wake her up.”
In the morning, I enter Hadley’s room expecting to find her sound asleep. Instead, she is sitting upright in bed excited to start the day with Tinkerbell. She’s fully alert and chipper. I thought for sure it was a fluke, but the same thing happened the next day. Home run? We’ll see...
Mornings used to be a stressful string of pleas to “Hurry, Hadley” and “C’mon, Hadley, let’s go.” A year ago, I finally figured out that I needed to start my day much earlier. Now I assume it’s going to take an hour to get her out of bed, dressed, hair brushed, and teeth brushed. Most days we get it done – slowly.
But now I’m wondering why we didn’t try an alarm clock earlier. How many morning battles could have been avoided by a simple alarm? I get so consumed by trying “strategies” sometimes that I lose sight of the obvious.
When Hadley’s alarm sounded, the bells went off. I realized that sometimes it makes more sense to keep it simple. That waste of money has, in fact, taught me an invaluable lesson.