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Parents of ADHD Children

Morning Routine

So our mornings have become increasingly stressful.  It’s not that my 11 year old son lacks the ability to do certain tasks, but he is easily distracted.  When I check in on him, about 75% of the time he’ll just be standing in the middle of his room or talking to his cat.  It comes with the territory, I know. 

This weekend I’m going to make him check lists.  I know he hates my constant reminders of what to do next, he says it makes him feel like a baby.  So I’m hopeful that maybe a checklist will give him something to refer to in order to stay on track.  My question is, where do you put the morning checklist?  1/3 of his routine happens in the kitchen (eating breakfast/making lunch); 1/3 in the bathroom; and 1/3 in his bedroom.  So I don’t want to put the checklist in the kitchen, only for him to get distracted in his bedroom, etc.

Or do I make 3 lists?  One for each area and the final instruction be for him to go to the next area where there’s a list?  I just want to give him the greatest opportunity for success - and honestly, I’d L-O-V-E to work out a system that gave him some independence and me enough time to put on my make up at home instead of during the drive to work.  Soooo many reminders leaves me very little time to get ready myself. 

Any other suggestions?


My three suggestions are to use a timer instead of or in addition to a checklist, have him do as much prep as possible the night before and have some sort of reward for getting it all done. For my son screen time is a motivator so there’s no screen until he is “walk out the door ready”. An audible timer can do the dirty work of reminding for you “Did you hear that? The timer for having breakfast eaten and teeth brushed just went off!” Backpack and lunch can be packed and clothes laid out the night before and a reward or timer can be attached to that as well “If xy&z are done by 7:45 you can have an extra 15min of computer time.” or whatever reward works for your son. I could make lists all day long but without overt reminders or incentives the lists would just be ignored at my house.

Posted by brlk13 on Apr 07, 2017 at 5:04pm

Not making this up…my 13yo daughter completely dresses the night before and wears her school clothes to bed. She puts her shoes and socks on in the morning. This was her idea. Luckily she has heavy duty uniform clothing which doesn’t look wrinkled. You may want to have your son make the list of what he needs to do…and have him assign an amount of time he thinks is reasonable to get each task done. This way its less of mom telling him what to do. Then use the timer as suggested in other posts.

My daughter happens to be in a carpool, so has the incentive of not wanting to be embarrassed if they are all waiting for her. In addition, last month (only to relieve pressure from me, because I couldn’t stand everything not being done until the last minute) I gave her the incentive of if everything on her list wasn’t done by 15 minutes before the carpool arrived, she wouldn’t get a “star” that day. 5 consecutive stars got her an ice cream smoothie. If she didn’t make it one day, the 5 days started over again. This worked great and then last week she decided not to work for the smoothie…but…did everything on time anyways…I’m hoping her mind has re-set to that 15 minutes of bumper time. She says she is going to work for the smoothie in future weeks.

Posted by boomer on Apr 07, 2017 at 7:26pm

I put them on index cards according to the room, laminated them, punched a hole in the end and hung them on one of those lanyards. They are always there no matter the room he is in.

Also sit him down with some of these ideas as a starting point and then ask him what he thinks will work. If you get his involvement it usually tends to go a bit better. I usually then say we will meet up in a week to review how things are going. Kinda like a business meeting - it seems to take the emotions out of it (which helps in our house !)

Posted by Udderlycrazy on Apr 09, 2017 at 11:54am

I made a portable checklist and it worked awesome! Here are the details:

3 different checklists won’t work because he’ll likely lose his place. Has to be something to help him know where he is in the process and what’s next.

ADDconnect Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

Posted by adhdmomma on Apr 10, 2017 at 3:17pm

Well you guys were SOOOO right!  I hadn’t been online all weekend, but I had went ahead and made the checklists, laminated them, put markers on string to hang near the checklists, and hung everything up.  I decided to include all the kids, not just my little ADHDer.  List on the fridge, list in his bedroom, list in the bathroom, final list near his backpack cubby by the front door.  I even made an “After School” List. 

The weekend got away from me with gardening, house cleaning, playing and soccer games - so I forgot to set the timers.  But I went ahead last night and went over each of the lists with the kids.  The older teen begrudgingly said he’d participate, the 5 year old said it was awesome and my son with ADHD said he thought it would help.

Fast forward to this morning, I wake up the kids and remind my son “remember your lists” and I’m so confident we’ve solved the issue, I just go to my room to get ready.  He’s initially super excited, runs to the kitchen to check out his first list.  Well nope, didn’t work - I come out and he’s talking to his cat about his homework. 

LOL - I laughed a little bit, not at my kiddo but at myself.  I looked at the teen’s list and the 5 year old’s list and they have both dutifully checked off everything on each list.  They’re ready early.  It wasn’t a complete failure though, I had made a list that listed every piece of his uniform he was suppose to wear (his school is very strict about his uniform) and he had referred to that list and gotten the uniform perfect.

I’ll be trying your suggestions now.  LOL.

Posted by Pump2Duncan on Apr 10, 2017 at 7:25pm

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