School Closed, I Still Have a Child with ADHD to Raise
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, my local school system has closed until further notice. The problem is, I still have a child with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) at home who needs to learn, grow, and stay busy. I still have a full-time job and a pile of bills that aren't going anywhere. And I still wrestle with a lot of depression and anxiety that makes it difficult to hold everything down without the reprieve of an eight-hour school day. So what's the trick? How have I learned to take care of my child's ADHD, education, and all of my other responsibilities in the face of such unpredictable school closures?
I'll lead off with this: this school year has been a haphazard process for my family and me. We've never been through something like this before, so we've done more than a few things wrong. I'd like to think, though, that I've done some things right. Here they are.
School Closing Means My Child's Education--and His ADHD--Are Solely My Responsibility
As you can probably guess, I don't have a degree in early childhood education. I'm not a child psychologist, either, so when it comes to raising and educating a child with ADHD by myself, I'm only so prepared. To top it off, logging in for my son's virtual classes has been harder than I imagined. However, I've done my best to continue his learning and teach him how to sit still long enough to learn something. Here are a few tips for doing the same with your child:
- I play classical music when we work on activities. The soft background noise keeps my child's ADHD busy.
- We play games. Memory games and counting games are easier for my kid to focus on than workbooks and flashcards.
- We read books. As I read, I run my finger along the page to hone his attention on the letters and words.
- I walk him through writing letters to people. Everyone gets a kick out of it.
They're small actions, but as long as I keep trying, they will pay off.
Finding Balance Between Parenting a Child with ADHD and Staying on Top of Everything Else
So my kid is at home right now--all the time. I can't be Mommy all the time, though. I still have to be Sarah. How do I balance raising a child with ADHD and doing everything else I need to do when I can't send my kid to school?
First and foremost, I have to take care of myself. Am I burning myself out? Am I neglecting what I need to do to stay healthy? Am I making time for things that make me happy and keep my own mental illness under control? Am I burying my feelings just because I don't have time for them? Trouble rolls downhill, so if I'm not healthy and happy, my child will feel it. Chances are, it'll impact his ADHD, too.
Taking care of everything else in my life is a matter of time management. I'm flexible with my work schedule. I clean the house when I can, and when I can't, I don't beat myself up over it. When I get a little free time, I try to pay a few bills or fold some clothes or get some writing done. I take advantage of random spare moments, so life doesn't build up into an overwhelming mess that aggravates everyone's mental health issues.
School Closing Has a Silver Lining When You Have a Child with ADHD
The situation I've found myself in isn't anywhere near ideal, but it has a silver lining. Being the mother of a child with ADHD--especially in the middle of a global pandemic--requires constant monitoring on my part, and now I can really do that for my son. I can keep track of where he goes, who he's around, how close he gets to people, and whether or not he's wearing a mask. I know what he touches when he's out of the house (he touches everything) and if he cleans his hands after touching it. I can protect my kid--all the time.
If my son gets COVID-19, it'll probably happen at school, anyway. Home is the safest place for him to be right now. Eventually, schools will open back up, but in the meantime, I can find ways to keep everyone happy, healthy, and busy doing the things we need to do.
If you're worried about your child having to repeat a grade because of how the 2020-21 school year has progressed, check out my video below.
Do you have a child with ADHD or another mental illness who can't go to school right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic? How are you handling it? Let's talk about it in the comments.
Sharp, S. (2021, January 20). School Closed, I Still Have a Child with ADHD to Raise, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, May 8 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/parentingchildwithmentalillness/2021/1/school-closed-i-still-have-a-child-with-adhd-to-raise