ADHD Makes for a Crazy Morning

by Caroline on April 18, 2012

School mornings can be difficult at the best of times. Even if you have a child who is fairly easy to wake up, like M-bug, every morning has the possibility to turn into a rushed, harried free-for-all.

Bubbles and M-bug on the first day of school, 2008.

M-bug and Bubbles on the first day of school, 2008. They look cute in the picture, but how long did it take to get that way?

Both from research I’ve done and my own experiences with my girls, I’ve learned that school mornings (any mornings, really) with kids with ADHD can be more than trying. These kids can be downright exasperating, every single day, because they are so easily sidetracked. They can also be more difficult to wake in the mornings, especially if they take medication for ADHD, because they are still stimulated from it in the evening and it takes them longer to get to sleep.

I learned early on that my girls needed a lot of time to get ready for the day. When they first started school, I tried getting them up about an hour before we needed to leave the house. I figured that if we had 10 minutes to get dressed, 20 minutes to eat breakfast, and 20 minutes for teeth, face and hair, that would still give us 10 minutes to do the little things that need done every day before we had to leave. At that time, neither girl had been diagnosed with ADHD; it was not even on my radar.

Boy, was I in for a surprise! We ended up rushing to get ready, I’d get mad and stressed out by their lack of focus, and sometimes would be yelling by the time we actually got in the car, which was usually at least five minutes late. The funny (or sad) thing about it is that I didn’t say to myself, “Oh well, I guess we just need more time.” No, I kept trying to fit that square peg into a round hole. By golly, they were going to get ready faster! Stop goofing off! Don’t talk while eating breakfast! Teeth, face, hair! Hurry up!

Bubbles on the first day of school, 2007.

Bubbles on the first day of school, 2007. She sure likes that pose!

Finally I realized that it would be better to just give them more time to get ready than for all of us to end up stressed out, and the girls to have a bad start to their day. I got them up about 20 minutes earlier, and at the time, that was enough to do the trick.

That was then. Now? It can take anywhere from 1½ to 2 hours to get their morning routines finished and start school. I know that this is partly because we do virtual homeschool, and because they don’t have to be someplace at a particular time, they don’t get ready as quickly. But I’m finding that even though they have their picture routines, they continually get sidetracked.

Yesterday morning was no exception. Every time I turned around, the girls were doing something definitely not on the list. For Bubbles, it’s usually reading “Calvin & Hobbes,” playing a game on her Nintendo DSi, or playing with other toys in her room. For M-bug, it’s pretty much animal related. She’s either playing with stuffed animals, looking for stuffed animals, or playing with her dollhouse, the inhabitants of which are, of course, animals.

M-bug on the first day of school, 2007.

M-bug on the first day of school, 2007. Too cute!

On top of that, yesterday both girls were, as M-bug says, chatty-chat-chat. Holy cow, they never stopped talking! Now, I love how well they’ve been getting along this year since we’ve been homeschooling, but this is crazy! M-bug talks non-stop pretty much as soon as she wakes up. Bubbles has more of the sleep issues (and waking issues) common to kids with ADHD, and it takes her a while to get going, but once she does — watch out! “Motormouth” was too tame a term for either of them yesterday morning. They were both super hyper (and that’s unusual for M-bug) and super distractable. I felt like I had to stop what I was doing every two minutes to go redirect them back to what they should be doing.

The real kicker was having Bubbles sing the chorus to “Yellow Submarine” about 40 times on the way home after guitar lessons. On top of that, she wasn’t even singing the regular notes of the chorus; it was the bass line, because those were the chords she was playing on her guitar. Aaaaakkk!

For somebody who relishes peace and quiet, it was a trying morning. I’d better get used to it.   🙂


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Merilee April 18, 2012 at 3:24 pm

I’m impressed that she could sing the baseline after playing it on her guitar. It’s cool that she could make the transition from playing to hearing the right notes in her head in order to sing them and not get confused with the melody. Also, I love their first day of school pictures. They’re adorable!


Caroline April 26, 2012 at 8:32 am

I know! She’s often singing the harmony, but the problem is she doesn’t realize she’s doing it. Oh, well. 🙂


Julie April 18, 2012 at 10:16 pm

That 2+ hours to start school thing? Relax sister. You are in good company. 🙂


Caroline April 19, 2012 at 5:59 am

And that’s why I started this blog, to be helpful to others, and convince myself that I’m not alone. 😀


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