With Labor Day behind us, it’s time to get serious about setting our students up for success in the school year. So, I thought it only helpful to have a blog reminding us all about the importance of routines. Routines are especially helpful for those students who have the added hurdle of a learning difference. While routines may sound “dull”, they are essential to managing your child’s days.
Lists can be very important as helpful reminders for adjusting back into a schedule. Data supports that lists can be a quite useful tool for students with executive functioning limitations. Therefore, a list entailing things from eating breakfast to getting dressed to doing homework can be quite valuable. It is always a great idea to add a reward on to completion of the tasks (i.e. pick of breakfast items, 10 min of additional screen time, etc.). Please remember that it is essential to explain your rationale behind having the list and the reward. This will help your child understand the importance of establishing routines and the value gained from it.
We all know how important sleep is, but we also know that it is more easily said than done. Sleep benefits no other part of our body better than our brain. It is essential for healthy development. It is especially for those children who already struggle to pay attention in class. Sleep helps us all process what we learned from the day and organize it. A few suggestions for better sleep are going to bed and waking up at the same time each day (even the weekends), a cool and quiet bedroom with comfortable sheets, no drinking caffeine after 4:00, exercise each day but not within a few hours of bedtime, and bedtime routine (dinner, bath, brushing teeth, reading).
A healthy diet is important for all children, but a wholesome diet is particularly important for those with learning differences and ADHD. Food provides the body, especially the brain, with the fuel it will need to take in information as best as possible. Diets high in omega 3’s have been found to be very useful for students with learning differences. Thus fish, flaxseeds, walnuts, soybeans, Brussel sprouts, and cauliflower are great additions to daily routine.
Here are some tasty and nutritious recipes to check out:
- Cauliflower mashed potatoes: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/mock-garlic-mashed-potatoes-recipe.html
- Salmon Recipes: http://www.todaysparent.com/recipes/super-salmon-recipes/.
Now, let’s go have a great year!!!
Contributed by Dr. Caroline Ford, PhD, Director of Psychological Services, Fairhill School