If you’ve read any books about ADHD, you’ve probably seen the advice “Use a consistent schedule” again and again. I know I have.
Based on what doctors know about this condition, having a regular routine is essential to keeping ADHD in check. This is particularly true if you’re homeschooling, because you’ll have to come up with a schedule on your own and then stick to it. We’ve tried several homeschooling schedules over the years, but most of them have been a terrible fit for our family.
It wasn’t until I started considering our kids’ ADHD that our homeschooling days began to take shape. Find our tips for creating an ADHD daily routine for kids below! Plus, see how to get a set of free printable daily routine checklist strips you can use with your kids!
And don’t miss our list of ADHD homeschool schedule ideas to try!
Tips for Making an ADHD Daily Routine for Kids
1. Get the kids involved in planning the routine.
Kids are far more likely to follow a schedule that they have a part in planning. Ask them what school subjects they like the best and which ones they like the least. Alternate them on the schedule, and begin with one of the least-liked subjects first.
For example, Tigger doesn’t like math. We do that first everyday. She knows that once it’s done correctly, she can get on to the subjects she enjoys. That generally motivates her to complete her assignments.
2. Make the routine easy to follow.
Another way to help kids stick with a daily routine is to make it easy to follow. Make a schedule that uses pictures and short words and then post it somewhere visible in the house – in the hallway, on the refrigerator, or even in the kids’ rooms. Grab our Daily Routine Cards to set up a daily schedule the kids can follow!
Go over the schedule with each child and make sure that he or she understands it. Then institute it slowly – adding one subject or activity at a time until the kids remember which lesson comes next. Easing into the routine can help the kids avoid getting frustrated.
3. Use a timer for daily tasks.
One of the common symptoms of ADHD is the tendency to get overly involved in a single activity. While the kids might enjoy this at the time, it can cause you to lose track of your daily lessons and throw off your entire schedule.
Try to keep your lessons to 20 to 25 minutes and use a digital timer to let you know when to switch to a new subject. If there’s a subject the kids really love, make room for that in the routine so that they don’t have to break off from a favorite activity before they’re ready.
In our family, Roo has a very hard time shifting his focus onto another subject once he gets started. His favorite pretend play activity is building, so I make room for that by having him complete his schoolwork early in the day. Then he has as much time as he likes to play without having to make a sudden transition to a new activity.
Printable Daily Routine Checklist for Kids
One of the things I love the most about blogging is getting to know other parents who are raising children with ADHD. In our ADHD Homeschooling Support group on Facebook, a reader had the brilliant idea of a printable daily checklist that she could use with her ADHD son.
I use a whiteboard for our day’s routine and we check off items as we go. But the reader suggested a smaller checklist that could be cut apart into strips. Then you could hand them out as they go through the day.
That is GENIUS. Since kids with ADHD can get overwhelmed by long to-do lists, using smaller strips is a great way to keep them motivated. So I’m excited to share a set of FREE daily routine checklist strips for kids!
These have lines that are large enough for you to write down the tasks or for the kids to write them on their own! (Neat way to sneak in some handwriting practice.)
As you see, you can write the day at the top and then list up to four tasks underneath. Need more strips for each day? No worries, just print as many as you need.
Want color choices? There are six in this pack! You can print your checklist strips in blue, yellow, red, purple, green, or grey!
Need to use these checklist strips for items outside of schoolwork and chores? They’re great for listing appointments and upcoming events too!
Since some kids with ADHD may be living with anxiety too, knowing what appointments are upcoming can do a lot to allay their fears.
To get your copy of our Printable Daily Routine Checklist Strips for Kids, sign up for our email newsletter using the widget below! You’ll receive these routine checklist strips, plus lots of other freebies exclusive for subscribers!
Do you use a daily routine for your kids with ADHD? How do you help them to stick to it? Share your suggestions in the comments!
Don’t miss these other great posts!
And be sure to follow my ADHD Tips board on Pinterest for more ideas!