School Survival for You and Your Child

Come on, we can do it.  We can make this year just a little less stressful and a little more enjoyable.  Hopefully the burnout and exhaustion of the previous school year has dissipated and you are ready for a new beginning.  For this first newsletter of the new school year I thought it might be useful to review, update and enhance some of our basic strategies to establish a positive outlook for the months ahead.  As always, if you have any questions or additional suggestions, I enjoy hearing from you.  And don’t forget to “Like” my facebook page to stay up to date on the latest news and strategies I post.

Depending on the age of your child, you will want to adjust the role you play in helping them manage their school lives and their personal lives, gradually helping them develop the life skills they will need in the real world.  Keep in mind, however, that children with ADHD can be up to 30% delayed in the full development of their Executive Function Skills, broadly understood as the ability to manage organization, focus, effort, emotion, memory and action.  One mistake many caring parents make is in pushing their children to take responsibility for things they may not yet be Respons – Able to handle.  As I always remind parents: Parent the child you have!

Time Management

  • As early as possible, have your child integrate their personal appointments (play dates, lessons, etc.) into their agenda book.  This will give them a chance to anticipate when they have time to study, make plans, etc.  You can also teach them to “plan backwards”.  When they put in a date for a test or project, put in “mini-due dates” prior to that event signaling when to begin studying or working on different aspects of a project.
  • Give your child their own timer and teach them to think about the passage of time.  People with ADHD often have a diminished sense of time so they benefit from external supports to guide them.  Two great resources for experiencing the passage of time are Time Tracker Visual Timer and Clock and Time Timer.
  • A great watch that has the ability to set several discreet reminders throughout the day is Watch Minder.  If your child has a cell phone, chances are there is an Alarm function.  This can be used to him/her know when it’s time to transition to a new activity.
  • Check out my article on The Pomodoro Technique on my website as a great tool for managing time.


  • Keep it simple and consistent!  One color per subject, forever.  For example, the notebook and binder for Science can be green each year.
  • Consider getting a sturdy multi – pocket folder.  One pocket can be for notices and then one can be used for each subject.  The best one I have found is available through Nicky’s Folders.   They provide a great place for handouts and homework.  Just help your child get in the habit of cleaning it out regularly, perhaps once a week.


  • Check out all the new Apps!! Many are free or inexpensive and can help with homework, organization, note taking, communication, budgeting and even avoiding procrastination.  Essential Mac Apps for Students mentions some and a quick Google search will help you discover more.

Study Strategies

  • A confident student is one who understands how they learn best.  Empower your child by helping them discover and embrace their best learning style – and then find the best ways to support their learning.  There are many free/inexpensive leaning style inventories available on the web.  You can also help your child by having a conversation tuning into what works best for them when they try to learn new information.
  • There are some wonderful free sites for making flashcards and generating online games and quizzes to learn information.  One of my favorites is Quizlet.

Your Perspective

One of the most common calls I get from parents is when they tell me that their child isn’t motivated and isn’t getting their work done.  This can be heartbreaking and frustrating for any parent.  While there is no quick, easy solution, there are many steps you can take.  Often the first begins with stepping back and digging deep to truly understand what might be going on for your child.  As parents who attend my workshops know, it’s not always helpful to resort to rewards and punishments, especially as your children mature.  Your true and accurate understanding of the problem your child is having will help guide the changes that need to be made.

Good luck, stay calm, and make sure you all find time to take a break from the stress and stay emotionally connected to one another.  For that is the surest way you have to help them.

Written by Cindy Goldrich, Ed.M., ACAC © 2013 PTS Coaching. All rights reserved. Articles may be reproduced or electronically distributed as long as attribution to PTS Coaching is maintained.


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