Positive Parenting

14 Sanity Savers for Busy, Always-Juggling Parents

When both parent and child have ADHD, tempers can run high – fast. Here’s how to keep your cool when the going gets tough.

Mother with daughter disciplines two messy boys with ADHD
Mother with daughter disciplines two messy boys with ADHD

Homework battles, meetings with teachers, fielding calls from the principal or IEP team – it doesn’t take long for moms and dads to burn out once school starts. If you also have ADHD, burnout happens even sooner. Use these tips to step back, stay calm, get help, or treat yourself.

HIRE A TUTOR – a high school or college student – to do homework with your child. This reduces tension for both of you. Many kids get homework done better without the emotional component of answering to a parent.

HIRE A CLEANING LADY WEEKLY, or as frequently as your budget allows. You can find something more fun to do than swishing the toilet – seeing a movie, visiting a friend, spending a little Facebook time.

SCHEDULE REGULAR MEETINGS (PHONE, ZOOM, OR IN PERSON) WITH YOUR CHILD’S TEACHER, and (this is important) mark them down on your calendar. If all is going well in class, suggest monthly meetings. This will head off major problems that can turn your life upside-down.

Working moms need A HALF-HOUR BREAK BEFORE COMING HOME to the chaos. Stop at a Starbucks or the park to re-fuel and recharge.

[Free Guide: Find the Right Sitter for Your Child]

BRING IN A SITTER for your younger children to give yourself a break, even if you have no plans to go out. Use the time for a bubble bath, reading, getting through paperwork, or zoning out. Of course, heading out with a friend or spouse/partner might be just what you need, too.

TAKE A BREAK FROM THE FAMILY BY GETTING AWAY WITH YOUR SPOUSE every few months for an overnight at a local B & B or hotel. It sounds like a luxury, but it is a necessity. You need to re-charge your batteries. It’s amazing what one night away will do for your perspective.

If your child has an IEP, REQUEST THAT HIS HOMEWORK BE DONE DURING SCHOOL HOURS. You will get resistance from the school administrators, but if you think this strategy is necessary for you and your child to survive the school year, hire a parent advocate who can work with you to get this.

USE A BOOGIE BOARD – a small, thin LCD writing tablet – and other visual cues to help your child stay on track, so that you don’t have to be barking orders and reminders. Removing yourself from the mix will keep things calmer at home.

[The ADHD Library for Parents]

GO TO A YOGA CLASS, learn meditation, walk, or find other stress busters to keep your health and sanity in check.

When you feel yourself “ready to blow,” GIVE YOURSELF A TIME-OUT. Retreat to your bedroom or bathroom or take a short walk to cool off. Nothing wears moms down quicker than emotional warfare.

GIVE YOURSELF CHOICES. When you’re feeling angry, ask yourself: Do I want to let loose with my anger, which only leads to a worse situation, or problem-solve? Instead of telling your child repeatedly what he needs to do, turn it into a question: “We have a problem. What do you think we need to do to solve it?”

GET SUPPORT FROM YOUR PARTNER/SPOUSE. Bringing in the cavalry is needed to keep everyone sane. Take turns handling bath time and doctor appointments.

SEE IT COMING AND HAVE A PLAN. If you know your child has meltdowns at the grocery store, leave her home! If you know your child needs to chill out after a long day at school, have a snack ready and let him eat it in front of the TV alone. Don’t ask him about school, tests, or grades, if you know that upsets him.

Above all, MAKE SURE THAT BOTH YOU AND YOUR CHILD’S ADHD ARE BEING ADEQUATELY TREATED. Consult with your health-care providers on a regular basis. Keeping symptoms manageable can make a world of difference when you run into challenges.

[Free Resource: Make Mindfulness Work for You]