The idea of homeschooling your ADHD preschooler can feel overwhelming. And let’s face it, if your child has a diagnosis when they are preschool-aged, then their ADHD symptoms are significant. I am right there with you, sweet friend.
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My youngest was diagnosed one month before he turned four. I also have a nine-year-old with ADHD. The CDC estimates that almost 10% of children in the United States have an Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder diagnosis.
So much has been learned about ADHD in the last several years. One of the most impactful insights is that ADHD children have specific learning needs. As a mother of two ADHD children, here are my tips for homeschooling during the preschool years.
Meet Sensory Needs
It is quite common for children with ADHD to have various sensory needs as well. Meeting these needs throughout your day can be a game-changer to your days while homeschooling your ADHD preschooler. We all know the stereotype of ADHD kids needing a lot of gross motor activity. But that is only part of the picture.
Sensory needs can span all of the senses. Some kids need more stimulation, while others need less.
When my son was in occupational therapy, we learned that he seeks proprioception and vestibular stimulation. Meeting these needs through jumping on the bed, weighted blankets, fidgets, and/or vibrating cushions at regular intervals throughout the day helps him stay focused when needed.
I highly recommend creating some sort of fidget station or sensory space, so your child can learn to meet their sensory needs on their own. Take a look at how we incorporate sensory tools into our homeschool room.
Don’t Be Afraid of Screens
Screens can get a bad rap a lot of the time. However, as I’m sure you know, screens can be a great tool for children with ADHD. The rapid speed of stimulation provided by videos holds your child’s attention longer.
I am not ashamed to say that YouTube taught my preschooler his letters and numbers. You can read more about how to use YouTube in your homeschool here.
My son is not going to sit and color or do any type of worksheet. But he will happily do math and reading lessons if they involve fun, exciting, and colorful videos. We really like ReadingEggs, which is an online preschool reading and math program. He happily and independently learns, which gives me the opportunity to work with my older children as needed.
Manage Your Expectations
We all have good days and challenging days, and preschoolers are no different. Managing our expectations as parents is really important when homeschooling your ADHD child. Take advantage of those good days and give abounding grace to the hard ones.
Furthermore, when keeping expectations in check, it is important that we as parents be wary in comparing our neurodivergent children to neurotypical ones. It is extremely common for children with ADHD to have some social, emotional, and/or cognitive delays. It’s so common in fact, that it is to be expected.
So take a deep breath, mama, and know that it is okay if your homeschool days with your ADHD child don’t look the same as a friend’s.
Lastly, I want to leave you with a word of encouragement, sweet friend. You are doing a great job. You truly are. Take a deep breath and enjoy these preschool days as you witness your child explore their world. Play outside, bake cookies, read a story, or play a game on a tablet. All of these are good things.
There is no right or wrong way to homeschool your ADHD child – the way that works for you and your child is perfect.