'Have the toughest class in the morning:' Recommendations for homeschooling children with ADHD

Dr. Greg Mattingly

MILWAUKEE -- With Wisconsin students pulled out of the classroom for the rest of the school year due to the coronavirus pandemic, and parents are taking on the role of teachers -- some kids with complex disorders are facing challenging times.

"Our children with ADHD, obviously, they thrive with structure," said Dr. Greg Mattingly with St. Charles Psychiatric Associates. "They thrive on consistency,and COVID-19 has taken away that away from them."

The change in the learning environment could certainly be triggering for some.

"During these stressful times, it's never been more common for children to develop anxiety, insomnia, sometimes secondary depressions, where kids become detached," Dr. Mattingly said.

To help adjust to learning at home, Dr. Greg Mattingly -- a psychiatrist with expertise in children and adults with ADHD and developmental disabilities -- recommends creating a positive structure.

"Start the day with their favorite subject, something they look forward to," he said. "You can give them an audible. You can give them an affirmation. Then, break the day into small chunks, so they can feel a sense of accomplishment, and finally, have the toughest class about 10:30 in the morning because that's when concentration will be at its peak with children with ADHD."

Throughout it all, remember, children will mirror your behavior and emotions.

"If you approach them with a sense of calm, with a sense of reassurance, if you take time to tell them you love them, and you're proud of them, to take time to affirm yourself, your children will reflect that back to you," said Dr. Mattingly.

Dr. Mattingly said physical education also an educational requirement, so take a break from being cooped up and go outside to do something fun and interactive to break up the day.

CLICK HERE for information on strategies for navigating COVID-19 via the American Professional Society of ADHD and Related Disorders -- including printable schedule templates for children, teens and adults with ADHD.