ADHD Tools for a Pandemic: Our Readers’ Top 20 Products & Services Now
What product or service — purchased by impulse or otherwise during the pandemic — has proven most useful to you or your child with ADHD? Virtual escape rooms, noise-cancelling headphones, fire pits, and grocery delivery services topped the lists of best ADHD tools, according to a recent survey of ADDitude readers.
Toilet paper, canned food, Lysol wipes, and thermometers. These survival supplies flew off shelves a year ago. But as we settled into pandemic living, families living with ADHD also began researching and snatching up products and services to help improve social isolation, remote school, working from home, and mental health.
In a recent survey, we asked ADDitude readers to tell us which product or service has been the most useful for them or their children during the pandemic. Among adults with ADHD, grocery delivery services and products like the Instant Pot topped the list. Parents credited inflatable pools, trampolines, or fire pits with improving their kids’ quality of life. Read the top 20 ADHD tools below and add your own pandemic essentials to the Comments section below.
ADHD Tools for Children in a Pandemic
1. Noise-Cancelling Headphones
“My son uses noise-cancelling headphones to listen to music at home or while riding his cycle. They have also enhanced his online learning.”
With virtual classrooms and home offices running five days a week, homes feel more cramped than ever. Even with ample physical space, it’s distracting to overhear conversations seeping in from different rooms. Noise-cancelling headphones can promote focus for adults and students alike.
“My son can put together a 1,000-piece set of LEGOs within an hour. It makes him feel successful and he enjoys the process.”
LEGOs are the original alternative to screens — a non-digital alternative to the constant stimulation of electronic devices that kids still love with abandon. Building with LEGOs requires focus and rewards creativity. Just beware of stray pieces that torture bare feet!
3. Meditation Tools for Kids
“Most nights we sit down with the book and discuss specific feelings or learn new breathing techniques.”
Stress and anxiety have reached all-time highs. The loss of routine, friendships, and academic structure is triggering tough emotions, and this meditation book offers short and simple mindfulness exercises to help you and your child work through them together.
4. Inflatable Pool
“Our pool has provided hours of fun and exercise. Also, it is big enough to safely have two friends in it socially distanced. I got to chat with mom friends outside while we watched the kids splash.”
Playing at the pool is a highlight of summer for many children. Trips to the pool also add structure to summer vacation and provide an outlet for burning off hyperactive energy. Until your local pool reopens safely, an inflatable pool is a cool alternative.
If you’re lucky enough to have a yard, chances are good your child will prefer bouncing on a trampoline to bouncing off the walls indoors. Trampolines encourage exercise and allow for social distancing with the neighbors. Make sure to discuss safety etiquette and trampoline risks first.
6. Time Timer
Timers help ADHD minds both see and manage time — two challenges made worse by the loss of structure and routine during the pandemic. The visual design of the Time Timer smooths transitions and encourages independence and productivity for children and even adults with ADHD, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and other special needs.
7. Epic Reading App
If your child resists sitting down with a book, a reading app might help spark their interest in literature. Epic is a digital reading platform for children ages 12 and younger. The app provides age-appropriate reading recommendations, tracks reading progress, and helps children build confidence in their reading comprehension skills. Epic is frequently used by educators.
8. Roller Skates
Without organized sports, parents are scrambling to keep their children active and entertained. To get your child outside and moving their body, consider investing in good, old-fashioned roller skates or sleeker new roller blades.
9. Osmo Learning Games
Remote learning doesn’t work for children in preschool and kindergarten who can’t (and shouldn’t) sit in front of a screen all day. Osmo Learning Games are a great, active way to occupy kids age 3 to 5: sticks and rings are used to create images, practice counting, and learn letter formation and phonics.
10. Virtual Escape Room Game
Restless ADHD minds are dreaming of travel and faraway lands after a year stuck at home. This virtual escape room provides a break from boredom and encourages family teamwork, a creative way to lower tensions in your household.
ADHD Tools for Adults in a Pandemic
1. Online Classes
“I enrolled in an accelerated 14-month master’s program. The tight deadlines associated with the accelerated program keep the dopamine flowing. I’m more successful in an online graduate program than I ever was in my in-person undergraduate program, which I only completed after changing majors four times.”
Canceled meetings, commutes, and social activities have opened up more free time in many calendars. Some adults with ADHD are filling the void with online classes and degree programs — a more productive learning experience for some. With a focus on academic growth, the Coursera platform teaches skill sets, offers career preparation, and provides degrees.
2. Sunsama Productivity App
“Sunsama is very useful for predicting the time it will take to do something, and then tracking how long it actually takes you.”
WFH strains the ADHD brain: managing disparate online platforms, tracking deadlines, and remembering virtual meeting times all require strong executive functions. The Sunsama app pulls in tasks from other platforms like Trello, Gmail, Asana, and provides one calendar for all your projects and engagements. Use it to set daily goals and track your teammates’ progress.
3. Neck Massager
A laptop perched on a couch or living room table is not an ergonomic office. Shoulders hunch and backs ache in many home offices today — problems exacerbated by the stress and fatigue of living through a pandemic. To relieve stress and muscle discomfort, try winding down in the evening with a neck massager — an easy way to mitigate physical and mental tension.
4. Online Counseling
The decision to seek treatment can be a difficult one. Stigma about mental illness lingers, and finances are tight for many. But the mental burden of the pandemic has pushed many adults into therapy for their ADHD, anxiety, mood disorders, and other conditions. Online teletherapy — with its reduced logistics and planning — is popular among adults with ADHD, who can use the online platform Betterhelp to search for therapists according to specialty.
5. Ergonomic Desk Chair
The average kitchen table chair or love seat is not designed for 9-to-5 work use. For a more comfortable and productive home office, invest in an ergonomic desk chair. The NEO chair has a seat cushion that prevents sweating, curves along the waistline, and offers extra lumbar support.
6. Grocery Delivery and Meal Kits
“Grocery shopping online has been life changing for me. I have hours, even days, to plan my meals and add to my online cart. It’s helped me spend less money, too.”
Grocery and meal delivery services have revolutionized shopping, a perpetual challenge for adults with ADHD due to impulsivity, difficulty with planning, and poor working memory, not to mention overwhelm. Meal delivery services, like HelloFresh, deliver the exact ingredients that you’ll need for a meal and are easy to assemble, making them a favorite during the pandemic.
7. Musical Instruments and Lessons
“Having so much time on my hands, I picked up my housemate’s ukulele and turned out to be a natural. I bought my own ukulele online and then a guitar, too. It relaxes me and gives me such a self-esteem boost. It’s the escapism I’ve needed during the pandemic and I’m proud that making music is now a part of my life.”
Music provides multiple benefits to the ADHD brain. If you’re a music fan looking for a new hobby, consider learning to play an instrument by signing up for lessons on Yousician, School of Rock, or another online service.
8. Fire Pit
When temperatures crest above 50, it’s time to bust out the fire pit for socially distant gatherings outdoors. Invite the neighbors to bring their own sticks to roast marshmallows!
9. PVC Binder
“I bought a PVC binder to keep my journal notes in one place. Now I print the pages myself with to-do lists, a space to journal, and a little chart to grade my overall mood and duration of sleep! This is the most organized I’ve been in months!”
No single organization system works for all ADHD brains. Some adults might use digital solutions like time management apps, while others might prefer paper. If you fall into the latter category, organize your loose pages with a PVC binder — the clear case lets you see inside without opening it.
10. Instant Pot
“If I forget to defrost something for dinner, it’s not a huge deal. I just put it in the Instant Pot, and it’s done in less than 20 minutes.”
ADHD-friendly meals, more often than not, are simple and straightforward. If you’re craving a hot meal but don’t have the time or desire to plan ages in advance, products like an Instant Pot are a great solution.
ADHD Tools: Next Steps
- Read: The Get-Organized Tools You Really Shouldn’t Live Without
- Use: 15 Best Assistive Learning Tools for Students with ADHD
- Browse: The ADDitude Store
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