Back to School for ADHDers - Ways to make the transition smoother
ADHD, Parenting

Making ‘Back-to-School’ Changeover Easier: 9 Smart Tips

The back-to-school buzz never fails to permeate the air. The endless list of school supplies, the long queues at Staples or Office Depot, trendy updated wardrobe – is such an excitement.

For an ADHDer this excitement also heralds the onset of chaos and pressure, more academic demands, a greater need for organization and more drawing on his (generally) lower executive functioning skills.

Sounds like a recipe for ‘overwhelm’ and meltdowns? NOT if you are a smart parent and help your child prepare for it.

(BONUS: Want a detailed, categorized back-to-school shopping list? I have it for you right here. Right after you read these tips.)

TIP # 1: Switch Mindsets

They need to switch mindset. Start now. Get them back into the headspace where early morning rush, after-school activities will be a part of their daily lives.

TIP #2: Waking Up

Mornings and teenagers – they didn’t get along! Add ADHD into the mix- well – the less said the better. 

To make your mornings easier, start waking your kids up earlier from now (and let them sleep earlier too) so that their internal body clock is well adjusted by the time schools begin.

TIP #3: Morning Routine Struggles

Minimize them by going over the routine with your child previously!

A few dry runs before schools reopen may help identify problem areas.

Tip # 4: After School Routine

Figure out the homework routine. Establish it from the get-go! ADHDer do well with routine and slight structure!

After school activities, clubs are all worked into the plan.

Make time for sport – the one thing that helps improve her ADHD symptoms and behavior is her swim practice.

Work out the screen time allowance and routine – maybe video games to remain in lockdown until homework is done.

TIP # 5: Homework Station

Is there an identified place to for your child to study – a homework station?

While any place will do, just make sure it meets a few basic requirements  – a smooth writing surface, some good lighting and minimum distractions (read ZERO TV)
Make sure that your child finds this place comfortable. 

Time to give this place some TLC- for it may not have been used in a while! Organize it, label bins, drawers etc.

Tip # 6: Planning 

Does your child plan his day?  Let him do that.

Planning helps ADHDer be in control of their tasks and deadlines.

Anything from a calendar to write down after-school activities, clubs, assignment due dates or planners to plan each day- will do!

Tip #7: Completing Assignments

Is it your responsibility? Do you need to keep reminding your teenager to complete them? STOP

It is your teenager’s responsibility to submit his assignments on time. He will take it on once you stop. They are old enough to know and understand the consequences!

Tip # 8: Meet the teacher

Meet your child’s new teachers before the school year begins. Be open with them about your child. This helps them understand your child better. It can also help the formation of an opinion that will be difficult to shake off later on. In case you are not sure about what you need to say to the school or the teacher, be sure to read this.

Tip #8: Back-to-school shopping

The best part of going back to school, isn’t it? But with an ADHDer, it may become overwhelming.
Pre-planning is your best bet. Talk to your child about what is needed, make a list. Make sure he knows that the list is followed.  

Your teenager may want to do his/her own shopping. In that case,  go over their list before they go to the mall. Give them a budget. A great way to ensure they stick to their budget is to have a system to keep track of their expenses. Do they have a system to keep track of their expenses? Make it simple or it will not be used!

(Bonus alert: I have a detailed, categorized Back-to-School Shopping list at the end of this article to help you plan.)

Tip #9: Expectations

A mismatch in expectations is often the cause of conflict between parents and children. Have an open conversation about your expectations. Make sure your teen is not overwhelmed by these.

Similarly, know his expectations of you.

Here are some things to talk about:

  • Academics – how things will change in the new class
  • Sports
  • How many clubs, activities
  • Time spent on the phone, video games etc

Be open and honest, but not rigid.

Have this talk before school begins!

Good luck




Lunch Bag

Lunch Box

Water Bottle

Pencil Case

Notebooks – College, Composition

Loose leaf notebook paper

Pens – Ballpoint, Gel pens (Blue + Black + Red)


Colour Pencils




Compass & Protractor



Locker accessories – shelves, bins, lock(s)

Sticky notes, flags, tabs


3-Ring Binders

3-hole punch





Index Cards – ruled, unruled (for making flash cards)


Glue – White, Glitter



Tape, Tape Dispenser

Stapler, Stapler Pins

Drawing Paper

Other Paper – construction, craft


Desk Caddy

Storage Bins


Dry Erase Board, Markers

Study Lamp

Printer paper

Printer Ink

Accessories – Clips, Pushpins




How to use this list

Step 1 – Together with your teenager decide whether each item is a) Needed for the year, b)Wanted or c)Neither of these two (mark these off the list).

Step 2 – Write down the quantities of each item needed/wanted.

Step 3 – Check what you may already have at home ( in working condition). Reduce those amounts to arrive at final amounts.

Step 4 – Arrive at a budget for items which are wanted but not needed to avoid conflict


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It is time for Back-to-School. Ways to help ease the transition for your ADHDer from vacation mode

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