Frustrating Mornings

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    • #40132
      Penny Williams
      Keymaster

      This discussion was originally started by user bchapman in ADDitude’s now-retired community. The ADDitude editors have included it here to encourage more discussion.

       

      My 6 year old son was diagnosed with ADHD almost two months ago. He is taking 20mg of Vyvanse and we have already seen a significant improvement at school. However, mornings are usually completely awful! 🙁 We also have a 5 month old son. It’s just me getting the boys ready in the mornings… my husband leaves for work at 2 am.

      Getting my eldest up in the mornings has always been a struggle. I have tried getting him to stick to a routine of getting dressed and brushing his teeth before he comes in the kitchen for breakfast… but he is distracted by EVERYTHING! Lately he has been disrespectful towards me and has flat out refused to get dressed. I also have a really hard time waking him up. He waits until the last possible minute to get ready. By that point I have yelled at him several times and am ready to strangle him.

      Does anyone have any good suggestions or things to try to help our mornings go more smoothly? It’s hard doing it all by myself. I’m constantly torn between making sure our youngest gets fed and making sure the oldest gets ready.

      This morning was especially awful… just barely made it to school before the tardy bell rang. Thank you for any advice you can give me.

    • #40455
      Allison Russo
      Keymaster

      This reply was originally posted by user Benine in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      We have great success with a reward programme for (say) 20 consecutive days of getting up and dressed by a set time. We started with one day prizes, then built up to consecutive days.

      He’s distracted by everything too, but can make it happen when he’s competing for a prize. Works for us, your results may vary.

    • #40456
      Allison Russo
      Keymaster

      This reply was originally posted by user Mrs-Bryant in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      Hello,

      My son is on Vyvance as well. We have a horrible time in the mornings and came up with giving him his pill at around 5am when my husband goes to work. He goes back to sleep. When it is time to get up at 6:30 his meds have kicked in and it is much better. I know it’s harder on you if you have to get up earlier, but maybe try it and see if it is worth it. My son is 12 and the meds still will last till about 3 when school is out. Good luck, I know how hard it is.

    • #40457
      Allison Russo
      Keymaster

      This reply was originally posted by user adhdmomma in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      We struggled with mornings for a long time too, until I created a game with an immediate reward for our morning checklist. It worked like MAGIC! Here are the details:
      https://www.additudemag.com/adhdblogs/32/11098.html.

      Here’s more on creating success in the mornings, despite ADHD:
      https://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/2536.html
      https://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/1019.html

      Penny
      ADDconnect Moderator, Author on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen boy with ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #40458
      Allison Russo
      Keymaster

      This reply was originally posted by user TannerT in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      One of the things you might want to consider is how he is waking up. Cortisol (stress hormone) is most abundant during the morning and given the added stress of a strict, timely routine during the mornings can result in total shut down. I’m 24 years old taking Vyvanse and also a total bear in the morning. Waking up to find out you have a full day of things you don’t find interesting can be very hard to cope with as a child with adhd. What always worked best for me was doing something distracting, stimulating, and rewarding to clear my head before school. If I didn’t I found myself dwelling on the amount of time before I was going to be able to do any of those things which resulted in immediate action. Which was,“I’m sick.”

      Or, “I don’t want to/ am not getting ready.” And also resulted in a lack of focus at school. I was untreated for ADHD throughout my childhood so I had to develop a sense of strict discipline to cope. If you have any control over his classes. Try to make P.E./art in the mornings so he can get exercise while his meds are kicking in. Also, maybe make a point to him the earlier he gets ready the sooner/longer he will have to do whatever he enjoys most. The things we enjoy most can be torture if dangled over our heads but that’s all depending the workload we have to receive them. If it’s something quick and simple like getting ready for school that’s within our grasp. If it’s that, plus a full day of school, plus homework. It can be overwhelming. And we’re more likely to completely binge out on whatever it is we received until the wee hours of the night thus creating a more negative experience waking up. Look up the differences in chemicals of different medications and keep tabs on the things hes responding to that are creating a flight or fight response and talk to your provider about a faster acting medication. Also, if you can think of a reward for getting up earlier and taking his medication so he can sleep and wake up when it’s working. That works too. I do it to myself with the reward I won’t forget anything though.

      Good luck.

    • #40459
      Allison Russo
      Keymaster

      This reply was originally posted by user Benine in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      Our reward game works for mornings most of the time, but sometimes there are days like today. This morning he couldn’t get dressed on his own. You know how if you’re thinking hard about something else while you’re making breakfast you might do something twice. Like take a second plate out of the cupboard when you already have one out, then notice and say Hee hee, oops, and correct . Well he was stuck like that this morning, minus the oops and getting back on track. Put two pairs of socks on one foot, then sat there naked on his bed. I could get him un-stuck, but it only lasts a few seconds and he loses the gossamer thread.

      Such a contrast to most mornings when he’s very capable. Might lose the thread for a few seconds, then he catches it again and keeps going.

      It’s amazing how much day to day variation there seems to be in his brain chemistry.

    • #40460
      Allison Russo
      Keymaster

      This reply was originally posted by user Stacy6 in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      The best thing we ever did to smooth our mornings was to set an alarm for 40 minutes earlier than our 10 year old’s wake up time and give him his medicine in bed, that way when he wakes up, it’s begun to work and he can do every thing he needs to and still have spare time! He loves it and knows how much better he feels when he gets to school because of it.

    • #40462
      Allison Russo
      Keymaster

      This reply was originally posted by user Stacy6 in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      Our 10 year old daughter with ADHD does not respond well to any of the meds we have tried, so our keys have been organization and cohesiveness with school, for instance we have a filing system with color-coded folders that match what she has at school. In her accommodations we also asked for nothing to come home in her folder except pertinent things for her, that way she won’t misplace her homework, etc, and be scrambling around in the morning trying to find it. Before she walks away from wherever she is, we have her look around for things she has forgotten to put away, etc, so that, again, there’s no morning madness. She also has taken it upon herself to lay out her clothes the night before, solving yet another time suck. Her morning’s not perfect, but much better!

    • #40463
      Allison Russo
      Keymaster

      This reply was originally posted by user Melodydeanc in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      Hi, we have a hard time with mornings as well. Sometimes this helps… but not always. I wake my 12 yr old up 15 minutes early, we call it heads up time, I make sure he is listening and then I tell him he’s got 15 minutes. When I go back in 15 min, I tickle him. Usually he breaks a smile and laughs a little, then I tell him to hit the shower. I’ve found that a shower in the morning helps wake him up and face the day. I have ADHD also, I hate waking up, always hit the snooze button a couple of times. A shower in the am helps me too. Good luck, I find praying helps too.

    • #40465
      Allison Russo
      Keymaster

      This reply was originally posted by user Mom1978 in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      Hi, I have 2 boys with ADHD 6 and 10. One thing you need to remember is that your son is only 6, so parental assistance and understanding is still needed. Having ADHD means he is going to be distracted (ugh) and may not follow through.But you also need to remember his executive function skills, the ability to stay on task, organize and complete a multi step tasks can be delayed 2 or more years. Meaning if he is 6 he might act more like a 4 year old when trying to do multi step tasks like getting dressed in the morning. This means you have to give him his tasks in small chunks. Time to get dressed. OK. Time to eat etc. As hard as it is you need to set the routine, and be consistent about it even on weekends, and holidays (a pain yes)

      You might want to make it a game, set the kitchen timer for a set time then say who can get ready first me or you. Set a prize TV time, toy time, stickers something he gets if he does it.

      We have the rule in our house that the TV or other entertainment activities do not get turned on used until they are ready for school. dressed (clothes picked out the night before) dressed, something to eat or drink, shoes on, teeth and hair brushed. We get them up 45 min to an 1 hour before they have to go to school. The reward is if they complete the whole routine they get some TV time (PBS/ Disney) but if they don’t no TV time before they leave for school.

      But remember he is 6. Medication is not the end all be all. It is like a crutch or cane. It is there to help not to take over. Good luck.

    • #40467
      Allison Russo
      Keymaster

      This reply was originally posted by user Lmom in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      My 14 year old with ADD follows the same daily routine we began at 5. It requires parental monitoring – more in the first years. First everything that can be done the night before is done – clothes laid out; lunch packed; back pack packed shoes and coat next to back pack; pills on the kitchen table. In the bathroom everything is laid out on in order -tooth brush with paste, brush, washcloth, etc. In the morning we start in the kitchen eat, take meds and pick up clothes and go in the bathroom – do each item in order dressed – go to shoes, coat, backpack and out the door. We limit everything to two rooms: the kitchen and the bathroom that way there is little chance of getting distracted. Oh yes, we have a clock in the bathroom and the parent gives 15, 10 and 5 minute warnings. Consistently done, it becomes routine.

      My son never resisted although getting up has always been difficult – I asked him what would help him fall asleep and we always at least tried his suggestions. I never accepted a refusal to get up – often I picked him up and carried him out to the chair and spoke loudly every time he started nodding off. Eventually he got better and now as a teen he is still pretty good but I do have to yell in at least twice to get him up as he sleeps right through the alarm!

    • #48917
      kim_D
      Participant

      Hello! What your dealing with probably sounds familiar to everyone on this forum! We’ve tried lots of things with my 11yo step-daughter (of 9 years) and have found a routine that works for her. Luckily for us she loves school (for now), so actually waking up isn’t so bad however maybe it helps that she gets 15-20 min of screen time when she wakes up? It might sound crazy but she knows that she has that time upon waking so not only does it motivate her to get up, but it also gets her brain firing. We have tried using “free time” as an incentive to move quickly down the list of chores but this is one of the red flags that alerted us that something was different because she is obsessed with youtube but couldn’t seem to get things done and regularly did not get her free time. Also, like someone else mentioned – get them up a little earlier. My kid gets up an hour and a half before leaving for the bus. That way she has her built in “wake up” screen time, enough time to shower (she prefers to do it in the morning), have a nutritious breakfast, sometimes she has to make her lunch if she didn’t have time the night before and sometimes she even has an extra 10 min. The other thing we do is enlist TIMERS! They seriously work like magic for ADHD. It gives them something to focus on and strive to beat. I’ve never used the timer as a challenge, more so an anchor to what they are focused on at the moment. She was suspicious at first, but she realized herself that it was helping and she rarely protests when we enlist timers. Sometimes, I have her use them for her math homework so she doesn’t get as distracted. It becomes the difference between finishing a 3 page math assignment in 30 min vs 1hr30min. The timers aren’t about a race or punishment if they don’t beat it or anything. We try to set a fair and realistic time to accomplish a task and if she doesn’t make it then we add a couple more minutes. Like I said it’s just an anchor. I do not have ADHD, I’m not an expert, I have had to trial and error and figure this stuff out on my own and with the help of the internet! I feel your struggle and just wanted to share what works for us (most of the time). Hang in there!

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