Girls with ADHD need structure, but also flexibility and room to move. If you start your homework journey year with the belief that your daughter will sit and do homework quietly for an hour after school every day, you will be disappointed. Instead of creating a schedule that will frustrate everyone involved, use these tips to create a realistic schedule for girls with ADHD that your daughter will love. It’s part of the process in parenting girls with ADHD.
How to Create a Realistic Schedule for Girls with ADHD
Use these tips to create a realistic schedule that works well for girls with ADHD.
Find When Your Daughter is Willing to Work
If I don’t catch my ADHD girls when they are willing to work, we might as well burn their homework.
But luckily, there is a specific time of day when my daughters are ready to learn. Both of them need about an hour to an hour and a half to decompress after school each day. If I try to get them to do homework before then, there is always pain and struggle.
Your ADHD daughter might need a longer break, a snack before she is ready to work, or she might prefer to get her homework done as soon as she gets home from school to get it out of the way (this is what I preferred).
If you can find your ADHDer’s “golden learning hour” then your evenings will run a lot smoother.
Let Your Daughter Help Plan the Schedule
Part of creating a realistic schedule that works for ADHD is to involve your children in the planning process. I let my kids tell me when they are ready to do their homework and school assignments.
Some days they want to do it right away (after their initial break time). Other days, they prefer to wait until after dinner.
Letting your ADHD daughter take control of the schedule helps her feel like she is valued and in charge of her day.
As a bonus, letting them plan their day helps teach time management skills, which many kids with ADHD lack.
Leave Plenty of Wiggle Room
I mean leave wiggle room quite literally.
If your daughter has the hyperactive form of ADHD and not just ADD, she needs to move. Sometimes I wonder how my daughters can learn math facts while standing on their heads, but it works for them.
Fighting the wiggles is equivalent to trying to prevent the tide from coming in. You might eventually be able to do it, but you will feel exhausted.
I usually let our girls take movement breaks after every subject and I try not to fuss too much if they wiggle around during homework. I also provide fidget toys, but sometimes they cause too much of a distraction so we have to put them away.
Stick to a Routine
I don’t know if every girl with ADHD is like this, but it is true in our family. We really like our routines. We like to plan our day and stick to it.
Even vacations are planned. When something happens to upset the plan, we get frustrated, bored, and a little bewildered.
My kids are the the same way with school.
Once, I tried to move my daughter’s homework schedule where we did math first, rather than reading first. Her world was turned upside down. It took about two weeks for her to adjust to the new schedule.
I decided at that point it wasn’t worth it, so I always let them choose the order now.
For us, completing work in order is more important than a specific time schedule (although my girls do like starting at the same time each day). Having the routine in place helps my girls know what to expect and keeps them from getting as overwhelmed and frustrated.
Show Progress Visually
My kids thrive on visual progress trackers. My siblings and I were the same way. We all find visual progress trackers highly motivating.
Reward charts, bonus point trackers, and checklists make us happy.
My mom used Sing Spell Read and Write with most of my siblings when they were learning to read (we were homeschooled), and it was that silly race track and box of treasures that helped us want to learn to read, even though sitting still was torture for most of us.
So, if you can create or find something that visibly tracks lessons completed or shows that your ADHD daughter is working for a goal (like a trip to the ice cream parlor), that will make a huge difference in their focusing power and attention to lessons.
Even though routine is important in our ADHD household, flexibility is equally important. Flexibility is more important on the parent side than the child side.
It never works for me to insist that homework get done at a certain time of day, or in a certain order, or in a certain way.
Things go a lot smoother when the girls are in control of their schedule, and I like to give them tools to ensure they can do that, like our mindfulness planner.
This planner I made specifically for my ADHD girls and it contains monthly overviews, daily to-do tasks, and checklists that they can use to keep track of assignments and prevent overwhelm.