The alarm rings and it begins:
“Time to get up,” says a loving parent.
“No!!!” screams the 5-year-old child.
You say it more sweetly only to be met with a more defiant “No”. You invoke the tickle monster, perhaps ply them with promises of treats, and use your stern voice only to be met with a repeated, “No”.
Getting my daughter ready for school was an everyday battle. It stressed both of us out. I realized that while I was using an effective strategy for children with ADHD, routinizing her schedule, this new routine was a drastic and sudden shift in the schedule she had gotten used to. Additionally, the shift was based on my habits and ideas of how things should be. So, instead of changing her habits, I changed mine.
Because she had trouble waking up, I’d bathe her at night, dress her in comfortable clothes for the next day and pack her toothbrush in her bag. When it was time to leave, I’d simply carry her to the car. She’d sleep all the way to school. By going with her rhythm instead of against it, we had peaceful mornings from then on.
At the time, my child was 5, so please know I am not suggesting that you let your 9-year old sleep in and carry them to the car in the morning.
As children age, they also mature emotionally and mentally, with emotional maturity continuing to develop until around the age of 35 years old. Mental maturity is closely aligned with emotional maturity. While studies have found that children with ADHD may reach emotional and mental maturity milestones slower than their non-ADHD counterparts, it is still important to support your child by using strategies and routines that are as closely aligned to their developmental milestones. As a parent, when you are trying to create a change, you must be tuned to your child. Also, know that your children’s needs are as unique as they are so there is no one-size-fits-all strategy.