Help! Rough School Mornings

Marci - posted on 09/02/2010 ( 28 moms have responded )

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Hi All. I'm new to the group. I have two boys, ages 6 and 3. My six year old was diagnosed with ADHD, last April, near the end of his kindergarten year. He definitely has the hyperactivity and impulsivity that goes along with it. He has been on 30mg of Vyvanse since that time and is now behaving quite nicely at school. My big problem is getting him up and out of the house on school mornings. A morning does not go by without us all getting angry. We wake him and then help him get dressed as he still has some night time accidents. We want to make sure he is clean before getting dressed. Even though we help him with this, he is constantly complaining and moaning and groaning loud enough to wake his little brother. Once that is done, we get to the breakfast battle. I give him three breakfast choices and let him choose what he wants, which sometimes brings on more complaints. I make his breakfast while he turns on the tv. Then I continuously have to remind him to keep eating. I really encourage the eating of breakfast as he is not hungry during the day due to his medication. He drags his breakfast out to the last minute and sometimes has to take the last of it with him. Then, without fail, he always has to use the bathroom when it is time to be out the door. Lastly, as he gets his teeth brushed, he makes all sorts of verbal sounds to try to anger his dad and I and wake his brother. We end up yelling or speaking harshly and we are all upset by the time he gets out the door, just minutes before the bus arrives. So, I'm really at a loss here. I realize that he is not on his medication first thing in the morning, but how much of this behavior can be controlled? Is there a better way of dealing with our morning routine or a better routine out there? I feel bad that we are getting upset with him but we want him to know that his behavior is not acceptable. Any suggestions for improvement would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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Heather - posted on 09/10/2010

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There are a lot of good and experienced moms that have replied to this! I read through a lot of the replies and liked a few of the suggestions. I have an 11 year-old son with severe ADHD and am all too familiar with the morning time battles. I actually breathe a sigh of relief when he goes out the door to school! I FEEL YOUR PAIN! However, all is not lost. These group discussions are soooo helpful to other parents who are at a loss. Besides therapy and medication, what is good for your child depends on tried and true methods. It seems the resounding suggestions that work for most kids with ADHD would be to: 1.) Make a plan the night before with your child. Pick out his/her clothes for school and lay them out. 2.) Set the breakfast table and do not give any choices for breakfast. You know what your child will eat or not eat so just serve what YOU choose and eliminate your child having to struggle with a decision. 3.) Put a chart or visual reminder in their room of a list of things your child must do in the morning to get ready for school. I personally would recommend keeping the list short. Rewards for completing the list may make it more fun for your child. But visual reminders are always key! I liked Phyllis's idea about using a timer for each task. I am thinking about trying to use that with my own child. He seems to forget mid-task what he is doing. I also like Phyllis's idea to give the medications right at the bedside in the morning. I see a night and day difference in my child once those meds kick in. He is less oppositional and more focused. 4.) DEFINITELY NO TV in the morning while your child is getting ready for school. I present TV as a privilege that he can have AFTER he is completely ready for school. Sometimes this encourages him to get ready faster, sometimes is doesn't. Either way, TV is a big distraction, even during breakfast. 5.) Start a bit earlier. Wake your child 30 minutes earlier to give him a longer wake up time and to pad the time it takes him/her to do each task. Knowing you have more time before you get out the door definitely will give you more patience and lower your blood pressure. :-) Good luck with everything. Know you are not alone and it will get better. Your child will mature and develop coping skills for himself as he becomes more self-aware. Stay vigilant because you are his best advocate.

Michelle - posted on 09/05/2010

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First of all eliminate the tv while he is eating as he is being distracted by the tv and forgetting to eat. My son who is now 9 does not chose his breakfast in the morning I make the choice for him thus eliminating one battle the rule is I make it you eat it. We also have the chore chart on my sons door and on it is everything he has to do before and after school if he does his stuff we mark it off if everything is marked off at the end of the week he gets $5. For us the allowance works my son likes money and wants stuff that is expensive so we are not only teaching him how to maintain a organized lifestyle we are teaching him how to save his money and to spend wisely. Good luck to you it will get easier as they do learn coping skills as they get older to help themselves

Shelia - posted on 09/13/2010

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Thank you everyone!! I thought it was just my house that was a frustrating in the mornings!!
My husband has ADD and my son has ADHD so it is very trying in the morning to get them moving. With my son I wake him up either with kisses or tickling to put him in a good mood. (When he wakes up grumpy that is a whole nother animal to tackle. I try to set our moods when ever possible) He has the same routine every day, get up pee, wash your hands and brush your teeth. some days he sings as he brushes others he trys to play the drums on the counter top. (uuugh!!!) I keep reminding him that we have to keep moving and that I am going to be waking Daddy up soon. I lay his clothes out on the bed so when he goes back to his room we have a "race" to see who can get dressed the fastest. This means shirt put on correctly pants, socks and shoes. I try to make mornings fun. HOWEVER there are plenty of mornings when I have to use the "angery voice" as he has so come to call it. It has taken a good year but he has gotten really good. Out of 5 days I say he has 2 that are really rough.
The funny thing is with hubby I wake him up with kisses too and again that seems to set the mood for the day. It is rough and I am so glad to know I am not alone in this morning battle. I just remember that alot of the fidgets and "acting out" are not to make me mad it's just another thing we have to deal with. What really hits that home to me is to see my husband do the same or similar behavior. Then I know it is part of the ADHD/ADD and not to drive me over the edge. Hope that helps some.

Amanda - posted on 09/09/2010

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I also use charts with my son (9), but one thing I did that I haven't seen metioned is make him choose what he wanted for breakfast the night before and add it to the chart (I printed pictures of different foods and stuck them on magnets to make it more fun). Maybe that will at least help you with the breakfast battle. I also agree that the TV should stay off in the mornings. We set the parental controls on our son's TV, so he can't turn it on in the mornings. If he has any extra time, I have him study flashcards or read a book. Good luck!

Phyllis - posted on 09/05/2010

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Here is what works for me. It takes my son's meds an hour to really kick in, so when I wake him up I bring them with me and he takes his pill and a caffeine tablet before he is even out of bed. (Caffeine keeps him calmer until the meds kick in, I don't use them on weekends/holidays though) Then he has a list on the wall using pictures to help him remember what to do and in what order. First is bathroom time to pee and wash up. 2nd is breakfast (in his jammies b/c he almost always spills.) Then he brushes teeth (also in jammies since he ALWAYS wipes his mouth on his shirt arrgh!) Then he gets dressed in the clothes we picked out the night before. Then he brushes his hair.



I set a timer giving him a reasonable amount of time for each step. He knows that if he finishes all his tasks in the time alloted, he will end up with a whole hour of TV or play time before school. He leaves at 8:40am for school, and we wake up at 6:30 to get it all done and leave that play time. If he dawdles I remind him that he is wasting play time. And the TV does not come on until play time starts. Often I have my son choose his breakfast the night before as well. I have noticed that he cannot handle more than 2 choices or he gets overwhelmed and is paralyzed by indecision.



The list on his wall covers mornings, after school chores etc and evenings. It is set up so he can tick off each thing as he does it, so he can see his own progress. This has been a huge help and he needs to refer to it less as time goes on and the routine becomes habit. Hope some of this is helpful!

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Parrish - posted on 06/09/2013

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I have the same morning struggles we are always late for school. I'm so embarrassed whenever I drop my 7 year old off at school late.

Parrish - posted on 06/09/2013

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I have a suggestion: often the food we put in our children doesn't help the ADHD. Protein and lots of leafy greens and fish or fish oil are beneficial. Starches processed foods dairy wheat sugar are all hazardous check out thepaleodiet.com

Marci - posted on 06/02/2013

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Wow! Thank you everyone for all your responses. It has been quite some time since I posted this. My boys are now 9 and 6. Our mornings have changed some, mostly for the better. We now do not allow any television on school mornings. The boys still get a choice in their breakfast which seems to be okay. The biggest issue now is the boys bothering each other while they should be eating and getting themselves ready. Then, there is always a fight to get into the bathroom for teeth brushing, etc. just before getting out the door for the bus. It seems we are always having to rush my nine year old to get out the door in time for the bus. We could get up a half an hour earlier and he would still take his time with everything to make sure that he leaves at the last minute possible. He went from 30mg of Vyvanse up to 40mg for some time but then developed tics so we went back to 30mg. He did fairly well in third grade this past year. He only had a few issues warranting a trip to the office. This summer we are trying Concerta. He started on 18mg this past Thursday. So far, it isn't doing anything for him. It is just like he is not medicated. Needless to say, I will be speaking with his doctor this week. I think he needs to be bumped up to 36mg of Concerta. Wish us luck in this trial and error process.

Once again, thanks for all your posts. It definitely helps to know you are not alone in this process. I hope things are going better for all of you.

Kimberly - posted on 06/02/2013

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You have described my life to a tee! Lol he is late everyday for school, throws fits (very loud and violent ones), have to drag him to the car( he has even tried to jump out of my car while it was moving), and once we get to school I literally have to drag him out of the car and carry him kicking and screaming to the office! He was on vyvanse 60 mg but because of it wearing off so soon and the way he acts in the morning we are starting the daytrana patch. I can sneak in and put the patch on him while he's still sleeping so it will be working when he wakes up and take it off at bedtime. We start it tomorrow so hopefully it will work!

Sarah - posted on 05/03/2013

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I have a 6 year old with ADHD and I understand what everyone is saying and I realize that I need to give him more time and create a solid routine. The issue for me is the outbursts and his word choices. I can handle the distractions, but I am not dealing well with the name calling like stupid, etc. I honestly don't think he realizes what he is saying. When his meds begin to work he is always very remorseful, but by then I'm angry. I don't want my younger son to hear my older son call his mom these types of names. Any suggestions?

Rachel - posted on 09/11/2012

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My son is 9 (also ADHD and taking medication) and mornings are still the worst part of the day. It is extremely frustrating for me and I have yet to figure out how to fix it. He is silly and obnoxious before the meds kick in, it's very difficult for me to not react negatively. Thanks so much for all the great suggestions! It helps to know that I am not alone in this, what a great website!

Catherine - posted on 09/25/2010

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I know what you are going through . i have a 7 yr old and a 5 yr old both ADHD also a 1 yr old . i go through the same problems . first of all when my son stoped eating i lowered his dose because they said it was to high and that his system couldent handle it . try lowering it down and he will eat better and still do good in school . my son takes 20 mg and even though he still has some out burst they arent as bad as when he is off the meds also i give him his pill at 7am every morning . with kids with ADHD you cant give them opctions so try to stop letting him chose what he eats it give him to many things to think about at one time and his brain cant handle that . the less going on in his head at one time the better he will act . also try no tv when eating or homework time . also my cell number is 678-778-3784 and my name is catherine feel free to call me if you want to talk and i can try to help you with anything your going through :) i know how hard it is and would love to talk with someone that is going through the same as me

Carolann - posted on 09/16/2010

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We had similar problems until we changed our morning routine to better deal with our son. My husband gets up about 1/2 an hour before everyone else, so he started popping into my sons room and giving him his morning pill as soon as he got up. At first my son would fully wake up, but slowly he got used to the new routine and now we can walk in, say pill time and he will open his mouth, take his pill and basically remain sleeping! 1/2 an hour later when he gets up, his meds are already working and we have a much calmer start to the morning. We also have morning rules. No TV until dressed, breakfast eaten, teeth brushed and ready for school, then he can turn on the TV and watch it till it's time to go. It's amazing how quickly he can get through everything so that he still gets to watch his TV shows. If he performs or gives trouble in the morning, there is no TV that morning. We found it was all about sitting down with him, discussing the new regime and the rules, then remaining consistent. Won't work for all children, but certainly does for our son. Good luck!

Kelly - posted on 09/13/2010

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I just want to say THANK YOU to the original poster for posting about your mornings and to all the AWESOME moms who took time to reply with such great ideas/feedback. I'm here in tears as we had a terrible morning today. It nearly ruins my whole day as I worry about the impact it has on both my kids when my son has such out of control mornings (I end up with angry voice - though I try very hard never to yell at him, he ends up stomping around and yelling, my daughter who is younger and not ADHD gets less attention, etc. etc.) By the time he's being dropped off for school meds are kicking in and I've been told he's doing FANTASTIC at school. I hear how focused and sweet he is at school. He's always very apologetic after school. Anyway, thanks for all the great ideas here. SO happy to find this site and thread today...even just to know that we're not alone in this struggle.

Patricia - posted on 09/12/2010

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Allow plenty of time, routines are best. Make choices night before for clothes, breakfast, ect. If he is not a big morning eater, try ensure drinks and fruit . Do not allow him to to be rewarded for stalling i.e. taking food with him ect. Do reward him for finishing on time, i.e. morning t.v. time, candy after school, stickers, gum, anything he enjoys. good luck and remember it's not his fault and he prob doesn't enjoy getting in trouble any more than you enjoy getting frustrated. Patience will be rewarded in time. I read a book about 8 years ago that stated a young child with adhd only wants to please but if he feels like he fails anyway he will become a teenager with adhd and a bad atitude! lol. My daughter will be 10 soon and she has been on meds since she was 6. Believe me it all gets better =)

Beth - posted on 09/11/2010

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Here's a few things you can do.

My daughter is ADHD and she takes a night time med and she has an alarm clock in her room that wakes her up, it's much better if it wakes her up than if we wake her up. And waking her up a half hr to an hr earlier than what is needed for a normal kid also helps.



Make sure he gets a good nights sleep, that can make a huge difference. My daughter takes a fast acting stimulant at night so she can focus and get her thoughts together so her mind isnt' going everywhere, and a melatonin it's a natural sleep aid. The two are perfectly fine to take together. Our ped told us to give her both. And stay calm the more you snap back at him the worse it makes everything.

pick up

" taking charge of ADHD" it has a great behavioral modification program in it.



and TURN OFF THE TV. that is the biggest distraction in our house I learned the hard way that the TV being on slows them down REALLY quickly. Nothing gets done when the TV is on.

Brenda - posted on 09/10/2010

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I had this problem as well when my son first started his meds. It isn't easy to begin with, let alone having to deal with the issue of balancing it all out once you know you supposedly have the tool (meds) to assist you. Some of the tricks I've learned (Because my son not only has ADHD and is also on meds, he also has SID...Sensory Integration Disorder. So he is especially sensitive to touch and sound.) is to get organized, have a routine, and consistency. My son's bedtime is at 7pm (because he gets up at 6am). During the time that I make dinner, I start having him get ready, as though he's getting ready for bed. I have him take out his clothes for the following day, get into his pjs (unless you give him a bath first) and make sure his room his clean. Then I make it quiet time, to wind him down, and encourage him to read or color. When he sleeps, he seems more rested. Something else I noticed is that sometimes kids with ADHD have a really hard time getting to sleep. They're tired, but restless. Unfortunately, I tried everything and finally resorted to (prescribed by his dr/therapist) sleeping meds. When my son gets up in the morning, I actually make the first thing he does is eat. This way his meds aren't interfering. Then I give him his meds and allow him to start the rest of his day. By doing this, I see a change and he functions a lot more productively. Sometimes we have our moment, but I have to consistently remind myself that I can't allow myself to get worked up...if I do...they do...and the circle then never stops. Make sure to have him do the most important things first...i.e. going to bathroom, eating, meds, then getting dressed...etc. I hope this helps. :D Good luck and remember you aren't alone in this. *hug*

Kylie - posted on 09/10/2010

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for a start hon quite the tv in the morning as it is a major distraction especially with meal times get him into a routine as i found that when i got my six year old into one he now knows what to do. give him two choices cereal or toast to keep it simple. no drinks at least 1 hr before bedtime and a strict bedtime and its also best to have at least half an hr quiet time before bed to wind them down talk about the favourite things of the day and the not so favourite things involve all the family you will find a big difference. you have to remember to keep your cool while you are doing these things as when you raise your voice and loose your temper as it only heightens their level so try to remain calm and push through it will take a bit of deep breathing but once you have your routine its a breeze and all of you will be able to enjoy each other again :)

Nancy - posted on 09/09/2010

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It sounds like you have described my son. I do have a few suggestions for you as we went to therapy because every day seemed to be a battle with him. First, when you wake him up for breakfast, you are offering too many choices, give him two, not three. Kids with ADHD have a very hard time when more than two choices are given. Once he makes his choice, he is to sit at the table with no distractions. Turn all radio, tv etc off until breakfast is over. I called my son the wanderer and he would drift between the kitchen and livingroom to watch tv. Tell him he will EARN 15 minutes (or whatever you wish) of tv time in the morning before school if he can sit and eat his breakfast without complaint. Set a kitchen timer for 10-15 minutes, when it goes off and if he ate everything, give him his tv time. When the timer goes off, pick up his plate and let him know that breakfast is over, no exceptions. Dont worry, he will not starve. I used to think my son would waste away to nothing and he ate when he was hungry. Just try to make sure the options given in the morning and dinner time are healthy ones. When he starts to moan and groan, ignore it. They love to get a rise out of parents and when you ignore it and they see it isn't working anymore, they will drop that "habit" over time. If he has to get up at night for the bathroom and his sleep is being interrupted, you may want to consider putting him to bed about 1/2-1 hour earlier to make sure he is getting his proper rest. We used to have to get my son up twice a night and it really made for a hard time in the mornings. I would not implement all at one time as it might be a bit much, but take it one task at a time. Our mornings are now much more enjoyable and less stressful for me.

Good luck.

Nancy

Cathie - posted on 09/09/2010

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I have the same problem, only my son is 11 and in Middle school. He was only diagnosed a year and a half ago after 3 very frustrating years. He has gotten into a routine that I can't break. So definately get your son started now. I think if they have and know a routine from a young age it will become just like walking for them. Some of the suggestions here are very good and with younger kids will work great, but an 11 year with an attitude. not a chance. My son was diagnosed at age 9 and it has been an uphill battle everyday. Our biggest problem is getting up in the morning. He has two alarm clocks set for 6:00am and he sleeps right through both of them, prompting me to holler up the stairs at him several times. I would like to dump water on him, but honestly he wouldn't be cleaning it up and by the time he came home from school the water would have ruined the mattress. One rule in the morning, be ready by 7:00 and you can have tv. Although he complains about not having the tv this doesn't seem to motivate him. We have tried a chore chart but that lasts about a week before the novetly wears off. He gets his clothes out the night before and gets his own breakfast and makes his lunch. If I am not standing on top of him giving him step by step directions he just zones, stares off into space and nothing gets done. He will also roll around on the floor with the dogs. He is very easily distracted. 3 days out of the five he is walking well stomping out the door mad. We are knew to ADHD and I feel like I am failing miserably. I have had ideas of walking him through the morning for a week to get him started. And then letting him go for a week and so on for a month. Any suggestions on older kids would be very welcome. Thank you and God bless

M. Jessica - posted on 09/09/2010

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Our 8 yr. old still has this problem from time to time. We have found waking him 1/2 hr to 1 hr. early to give him his medication helps tremendously. (You can ewen tell him he can lay back down until it is time to get up. He thinks he's 'winning' when he hears this.)This gives it time to get into his system and smooths out the morning beautifully. Hope this is helpful!

Valerie - posted on 09/09/2010

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First thing is to keep the TV off in the morning. It just acts as another distraction. Unplug it if you have to or hide the remote. As a mother of two children with ADHD and child counselor I have used checklists with great success. Start small with what you want him to accomplish and then if he completes the list he receives a small reward. You work on the list together and decide before hand the rewards available...call it the treasure chest or whatever you want...make it fun. As he gets the hang of it and gets older you can spread out the time period from daily to every few days to weekly.

Cassandra - posted on 09/08/2010

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The best advice i can give you is to not allow him to eat breakfast in front of the t.v. I tell my son if he wants to have enough time to watch his shows then he has to eat his breakfast first. The sooner he does it the sooner he can watch t.v. This has really worked for me.

Jennifer - posted on 09/07/2010

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OMG...I understand completely!! We had the same thing. I ended up doing a picture chart that I put in his room and when I wake him up he now knows to go and look at the chart. He's really good at following a list so I used that to my advantage. I used to let him watch tv while he ate breakfast too but also found that he would forget to keep eating. I have since changed the rules that during school days he must eat breakfast at the kitchen table. Once he has finished his chart of all the things he needs to accomplish and if there is time left he can then watch a bit of tv before it's time to head out the door. It has definitely been much better for us. Hang in there.

Wendy - posted on 09/03/2010

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He probably isnt making noise to annoy anyone he is just doing it to keep his little brain busy, my son does it all the time.

Carmen - posted on 09/02/2010

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U have to tell the doctor what is going on with ur son. this is probably an side effect from the medication. no all kids react the same with the medication. is a chanllegen that u and ur husband have. both have to make a plan the work to both and keep the morning for being a nightmare to be a nice morning. I know is not easy but u can do it. i dont think i have the same problem with my son but he probably is try to call attention in the morning. before he wake up or u wake him up, get the breakfast ready. then go wake him up and if he make noises and try to wake his brother make a deal with him. look for something he like and tell him that if he get ready for school without a single sound u can treat him with an ice cream after school or anything he like. i hope this help. go look.

Nae - posted on 09/02/2010

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I feel you!!! It's is a battle for my son not to be late every morning. Eating is the hardest. It just seems to take him forever to do just about anything. I have yet to figure out how to fix this without the frustration you describe and I feel as well. I feel guilty about his day starting out so roughly. I can say that now that he is 11 things have gotten a little smoother, but these problems are still there.

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