Does Your Child with ADHD Need Help with Homework?

Are you looking for ways to help your child or teen handle the daily struggle with homework? The struggle (theirs and yours) is real. It may look like a lack of motivation, or defiance, forgetfulness or even a learning disability but in reality, it is probably their Executive Function skills.

The Homework Help for ADHD covers seven Executive Function skills that have the biggest impact on homework and includes information on what to look for and plenty of strategies to help compensate.

Laine Dougherty - Notebook - Homework Help for ADHD - blue #1

Due to the current circumstances and requirements for social distancing, our classes and individual services will be conducted via Zoom or Google Hangouts.

Self-Care is a Necessity for You and Them

What does self-care mean to you? Here is a definition I found on PsychCentral.Selfcare is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.“  I thought it was grabbing a piece of chocolate? Seriously though, during this busy winter season it is important to remember to take time to recharge and renew because it is when our reserves are low that we are most susceptible to colds and stress. So, self-care is not a luxury, it is a vital and necessary part of a balanced life.

What recharges you? Researchers have discovered that as little as 15 minutes in nature is enough to recharge the brain, lower stress levels and increase feelings of well-being. Or maybe you prefer a cup of tea, a good book, a nap, a 10-minute meditation or some music. Whatever makes you happy. Find something (a few things) that give you that “recharged” feeling that you can use every day. Do you have a hobby that can be easily picked up? Whatever it is, it is important to give the brain a break to regain some of its energy. There is also reducing stress, getting a good night’s sleep (adults need 7-8 hours….not 6), being active and eating healthy. If you struggle with ADHD, it is even more important to take time to recharge daily.

Help your child with ADHD recognize what makes them feel good too and instill an understanding for the importance of eating healthy, getting enough sleep (8-11 hours), and exercise in order to recharge their ADHD brain. Cultivate their interest in something that excites them and that they are good at to rebuild the self-confidence ADHD can sometimes whittle away.

Kids are working so hard at school, especially if they have ADHD. The constant stimulus and distractions can use up their physical and emotional reserves so that by the time they get home, the tiniest thing may send them out of control (or at least be more of an outburst than would be normal if they were at their best.) The brain uses the most energy of any organ in the body and those with ADHD have lower levels of dopamine, the “feel good hormone” needed for thinking and emotional stability. As soon as they get home it is time to refuel and recharge. Do not hit the homework before taking a 30-45 minute break for some active fun, and a protein snack.

Help your child discover the little things they can do to calm and recharge in a short amount of time. Going outside, building, coloring, shooting some hoops, or drinking a hot cocoa with marshmallows (yes, a bit of sugar and caffeine calms the busy brain). Notice TV and video games did not make the list as they tend to stir up the wake-up hormone, serotonin, rather than acting to calm. We want them calm and capable of managing their emotions before they start homework. They are more likely to be able to handle the problem solving needed when their emotions are in a good place. Stress and frustrations should not be part of doing homework.

Setting aside time to take care of yourself sends a positive message to your children that it is important to take care of yourself so you can be the best parent you can be and they should do the same. What a happier world we would live in, if everyone took time to take care of themselves.

Three Keys to Being More Productive – From Our Archives

What does productivity mean to you? Yes, it is about getting things done, but more importantly it is about getting the right things done at the right time.  It is also about making decisions. I am sure you know the feeling of being busy all day long only to wonder at the end of the day what you actually did.  Being busy is not necessarily being productive.  Today’s reality is that we are constantly being bombarded by stimulus (ex. cellphones, internet, social media, news, blog posts, emails, texts, electronic billboards, pop up ads, etc.) we have to be vigilante that all that stimulus doesn’t distract us from the important things. It’s a bit like that dog in the movie UP that yells “squirrel” and runs off after another distraction.

According to two online dictionary definitions, Productivity is “the quality state or fact of being able to generate, create, enhance or bring forth goods and services.” Or it means you “do a lot.” Both of those sound like being a robot; preprogrammed to action without thinking about whether or not what we are doing is important. How do you avoid that?

  1. First step is to set clear boundaries. That word has been overused somewhat but if you think of yourself with a fence around you and only one gate to get in that you control you will get a better idea of what I mean. All this outside stimulus just finds its way to our attention which takes our focus off of the important things or even just the things we want to do. With you in control you get to open the gate and let in only that which is important to you at the time. Or you can be standing in the middle of an open field with no fence and have all that “stuff” assault you from every direction. Which would you prefer?

Ways to set boundaries:

  • Handle or prevent those interruptions that you can control and find a way to limit or cut short those that have you at the mercy of someone else.
  • Turn off your alerts and decide when you will be available.
  • Check email three or four times a day, not constantly
  • Decide if “x” is worth your time, energy or effort before you say yes. Sure, you may want to do it all but at what price?
  • Make/take time for yourself
  1. Taking care of yourself is the next key. I understand you want to do all and be all but you can be of no help if you become ill or feel resentment. Self-care means making the time to exercise, eat healthy, get enough sleep, socialize and do the things that lower your stress level. Being organized makes your life easier too, why do things the hard way when you don’t have to?

Self-Care keys:

  • Create morning and evening routines that serve you that include a specific bedtime and wake up time.
  • Filter out the extraneous stuff. Let go of commitments you are no longer interested in or are of a lower priority.
  • Set aside some time for yourself. (Sometimes that means locking the bathroom door – do whatever it takes).
  • Organize so that you have efficient systems to handle the everyday stuff. Your home needs to serve you, not make your life more difficult. Make sure you can find what you need quickly and return it to that place when you’re done.
  • Choose wisely grasshopper, as you are trading away time that can never be regained.
  1. Planning and Prioritizing will keep the important things on the top of the list. Having a plan will keep you on track. By creating your list the night before you have time to think about how important those tasks are to you. Without a plan your day can go in any direction but often it is not the direction you want it to go in. Priorities should be based on your goals and dreams as you work towards creating the life of those dreams.

Ways to Plan and Prioritize:

  • It’s okay to not be able to do it all – some things should never be done, and some can easily be put off as long as you are the one that decides. Delegate what you can.
  • Prioritize tasks in a way that honors who you are.
  • Schedule in even the tiniest tasks. If you color code your calendar you can see where the majority of your energy and time is going.
  • Estimate how long you think a task will take and then time yourself. Don’t forget to include commuting time, prep time and clean up time.
  • Be realistic in the amount you can accomplish in one day. Start small and build your momentum by getting the higher priorities or the more distasteful (but important) ones done early.

Keeping these keys in mind will help you live the life you dream of. Good luck.

Three Keys to Being More Productive

jugglingwomanWhat does productivity mean to you? Yes, it is about getting things done, but more importantly it is about getting the right things done at the right time.  It is also about making decisions. I am sure you know the feeling of being busy all day long only to wonder at the end of the day what you actually did.  Being busy is not necessarily being productive.  Today’s reality is that we are constantly being bombarded by stimulus (ex. cellphones, internet, social media, news, blog posts, emails, texts, electronic billboards, pop up ads, etc.) we have to be vigilante that all that stimulus doesn’t distract us from the important things. It’s a bit like that dog in the movie UP that yells “squirrel” and runs off after another distraction.

According to two online dictionary definitions, Productivity is “the quality state or fact of being able to generate, create, enhance or bring forth goods and services.” Or it means you “do a lot.” Both of those sound like being a robot; preprogrammed to action without thinking about whether or not what we are doing is important. How do you avoid that?

  1. First step is to set clear boundaries. That word has been overused somewhat but if you think of yourself with a fence around you and only one gate to get in that you control you will get a better idea of what I mean. All this outside stimulus just finds its way to our attention which takes our focus off of the important things or even just the things we want to do. With you in control you get to open the gate and let in only that which is important to you at the time. Or you can be standing in the middle of an open field with no fence and have all that “stuff” assault you from every direction. Which would you prefer?

Ways to set boundaries:

  • Handle or prevent those interruptions that you can control and find a way to limit or cut short those that have you at the mercy of someone else.
  • Turn off your alerts and decide when you will be available.
  • Check email three or four times a day, not constantly
  • Decide if “x” is worth your time, energy or effort before you say yes. Sure, you may want to do it all but at what price?
  • Make/take time for yourself
  1. Taking care of yourself is the next key. I understand you want to do all and be all but you can be of no help if you become ill or feel resentment. Self-care means making the time to exercise, eat healthy, get enough sleep, socialize and do the things that lower your stress level. Being organized makes your life easier too, why do things the hard way when you don’t have to?

Self-Care keys:

  • Create morning and evening routines that serve you that include a specific bedtime and wake up time.
  • Filter out the extraneous stuff. Let go of commitments you are no longer interested in or are of a lower priority.
  • Set aside some time for yourself. (Sometimes that means locking the bathroom door – do whatever it takes).
  • Organize so that you have efficient systems to handle the everyday stuff. Your home needs to serve you, not make your life more difficult. Make sure you can find what you need quickly and return it to that place when you’re done.
  • Choose wisely grasshopper, as you are trading away time that can never be regained.
  1. Planning and Prioritizing will keep the important things on the top of the list. Having a plan will keep you on track. By creating your list the night before you have time to think about how important those tasks are to you. Without a plan your day can go in any direction but often it is not the direction you want it to go in. Priorities should be based on your goals and dreams as you work towards creating the life of those dreams.

Ways to Plan and Prioritize:

  • It’s okay to not be able to do it all – some things should never be done, and some can easily be put off as long as you are the one that decides. Delegate what you can.
  • Prioritize tasks in a way that honors who you are.
  • Schedule in even the tiniest tasks. If you color code your calendar you can see where the majority of your energy and time is going.
  • Estimate how long you think a task will take and then time yourself. Don’t forget to include commuting time, prep time and clean up time.
  • Be realistic in the amount you can accomplish in one day. Start small and build your momentum by getting the higher priorities or the more distasteful (but important) ones done early.

Keeping these keys in mind will help you live the life you dream of. Good luck.

Self-Care – What's that?

happiness-priority-quoteSummer has faded and the leaves are just starting to change. It is time to build up our reserves before the cold weather hits. People all around me are already getting sick and I don’t want that to be me this year.

To protect myself this year I have been looking at habits/routines that don’t serve me. One thing I don’t seem to take enough time for is self-care. We are all busy and that makes it most important to stay healthy. It is time to spend a little time on ourselves. Don’t you agree?

Think about your answers to these questions to determine if you could use a bit more self-care time.

  1. Do you feel like you “run” all day long without taking any time for yourself?
  2. How many hours of sleep did you get last night? (Less than 7?)
  3. When was the last time you took longer than 10 minutes to eat lunch?
  4. When was the last time you were active on purpose? (Took a walk, exercised, played a sport, etc.)
  5. Do you find yourself short on patience, or easily frustrated?

Women are built for nurturing –putting others first and their selves last. With the pace of life today it is easy to see how our reserves can get depleted when we give and give to others and put off taking care of ourselves. Reminds me of the airplane reminder where they caution you to “put your own oxygen mask on first” before helping others.

What do you need to feel like you have taken care of yourself? Can you use a routine or a habit that you already have to add some self-care time to? Maybe start with 15-20 minutes and build from there until you have a new habit that makes you feel like you have nurtured yourself. Some ideas might be, writing in a journal, meditation, taking time to read, gardening, sipping a cup of your favorite tea or soaking in a hot tub.

Or would you prefer a “once and done treat” like a facial, massage or mani/pedi? How about a walk in nature? Studies have shown that walking in nature actually reduces cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is the stress hormone that affects your health in a number of ways. A walk in nature can also help creative thinking and problem solving. It has been shown to have a positive effect on depression and is great exercise too. In a study done in 2009, a walk in nature was shown to improve the attention span of children with ADHD. What will you do for yourself today?

The best thing we can do for our loved ones is to take care of ourselves. Try different things until you find what works for you and it can be different things each day or each week. The key is to make the time and to make taking the time for self-care a habit. I’d love to hear what you’re doing on my Facebook page this month so please share your thoughts there.

Back in the saddle

It’s two weeks into the new school year – how are you doing? I hope you have followed some of my tips (see August blogs) and are finding things going a bit smoother than last year. One more week to go before it becomes a habit….unless of course, you haven’t been following the routines each day. Then you are at step one. Baby steps one day at a time for three weeks to a less stressed life. Isn’t it worth a try?

For those with or without children in school, the fall is a great time to do something fun. Check out the adult education classes in your town (or a surrounding town) for ideas. There are classes that meet for one, two or eight sessions depending on what your interests are. Your local newspaper has information on other options such as a Toastmaster’s club, dance lessons or even a scrabble club nearby. There are plenty of options available. I know you are probably thinking I don’t have time for fun. Well, if you don’t take time for fun (which willLooking through the telescope recharge you) then how will you ever take care of your family? Self care comes first and keeping yourself happy and healthy allows you to be at your best for those you love. Isn’t now a good time to start?

I am signing up for a two night class that allows me to look at the stars through a powerful telescope. Time commitment 3 hours, the recharging of my soul as I realize I am only a speck in the grand plan of things…..priceless. What fun will you have?  I’d love to hear about it.