First Days of School – Expectation vs. Reality

Kids with learning differences have high expectations for the first days of school. They usually start out the school year with the mindset that they will ace every class, do all of their homework as soon as they get it and make their parents and teachers proud. They believe this because this year will be different. They are certain that they will not fall into the trap that they did last year. They believe that if they just try harder, then everything will get better. This usually works well for the first two weeks of school, but when the review of last year’s material is complete, the wheels begin to fall off of the bus.

This is due to the learning cycle of the ADD brain. That is right; this type of learner has peaks valleys throughout their educational career. It is helpful for parents, of this population, to be aware of these peaks and not to be too surprised when it happens. A good rule of thumb is to be prepared with good transitions between school and home and then between home and homework. Remember to keep the car ride home from school as calm as possible. This is necessary because the child has not has time to process what has happened to him/her throughout the day. He simply needs to detox from the day. To do this successfully, try and use classical music in the car or no music at all. Refrain from asking how his day as been. This will usually result with a reply like, “I don’t know.” When the car ride is coming to an end, remind them what the schedule will be when they get home. Have them repeat it back to you. Make sure that he will have at least the fifteen minutes to have some down time before the start on homework. There needs to be snack that has protein provided. If their looks to be a high quantity of work to do, then make sure provide a timer and break up the quantity in to 20 increments. Finally, help them to come up with healthy ways to distress from the day. Yoga is a good relaxing tool and my favorite, is just plain talking to your kids.

These simple consistent routines will save the child and the parent when the peaks and valleys happen throughout the year. Don’t stress, just know that this the way your child is wired.