A Day in the Life : ADHD

This is written for how things typically go during the school year. It should be noted we have 4 boys, ages 7, 5, 2 and 6 months, so we have a pretty busy house! 

About 7:30 a.m

Our days typically “really” begin when he wakes up. Our other boys can be up and we have some peace, but as soon as he is up… it is go time. Typically, we hear a loud thud, which signifies that he has indeed jumped off the top bunk bed. Next we hear the thundering of hoofs coming out to the breakfast table. 

7:30 – 8:00 

Breakfast is attempted. The boys usually end up battling over something at the table. “Hey, you took the syrup”, “I want chocolate rice milk”, “Hey, you took my chocolate rice milk”…etc. Honestly, most mornings they end up in a physical fight. It is never a knock down type situation, but someone always ends up crying and/or in trouble. 

8:00 – 8:30 

It is time to brush teeth, get dressed and ready leave for school. On good days, this gets done in about 10 minutes. On other days, it takes the entire 30 minutes to get out the door. By this point one of us adults usually realizes we have not given his morning medication yet. So, we get the pill and some water and take it to him. (We need give it as soon as he comes out, it is a continued work in progress).   

8:40 ish

Dad takes him to school.  

9:00 – 3:30 

He is at school. I will say though, he is very well behaved at school. In all honesty, his behavior in school has never been an issue. 

11:30 – 12:00

He receives his afternoon medication at school. 

3:30

School pick up. You can always tell what kind of day he had just by looking at his face and observing his behavior. 

If he has had a bad day at school, the anger will be out in full force when he gets in the van. He will be angry and will “bite off everyone’s heads” when we try to talk with him. I have learned to give him space if he is like that. 

4:00 – 5:00

The boys watch a PBS show, usually Wild Kratts. We also have an after school snack. This is the time that I should be giving his late afternoon dose, but many days I forget as I usually have a screaming infant who wants to be nursed (again, this is where “I” really need to improve). 

5:00 – 6:00 

This year in school, his teacher sends home a worksheet packet for the entire week. He usually chooses to do it all on Monday afternoon. I will also say, he will do his homework without a fight, which I know is not the norm. 

On nights there are no activities the boys usually “play”. Unfortunately, this is when the “anger” that he has usually makes an appearance. Now, of course, he has 3 little brothers, and that could frustrate anyone, but he handles things… well, full of anger. The growling, snarling, yelling and pure grouchiness comes out. 

Thankfully, he LOVES to read. When the boys get out of hand, and there has been too much fighting that isn’t getting better with “parenting”, I send him to his room to “read and calm down”. 

6:00

I try to have dinner about this time of night, fairly consistently. 

Lately, he has not been wanting to eat… much of anything, but pretty much nothing at dinner time. It should be noted that one reason we stopped Ritalin was because it was suppressing his appetite. We are wondering if this new medication (Dextroampitamine), is taking his appetite away completely, as he isn’t asking for “snacks” or food in general. 

If we have an activity, then we usually eat dinner afterward. 

6:45 – 8:00

This is the last bit of “free time” the boys have before bed. This usually goes much like the 5:00 – 6:00 block does. 

8:00 

Time for bed…. ha! 

Bedtime has always been a struggle for us. Even as a baby, the boy just didn’t want/need to sleep. From the time he was about 18 months old, there were times we would take him out to the couch, set him up with a blanket and pillow and turn on Toy Story because he was still not asleep at 1:00 a.m. We know now that watching TV did nothing to help him go to sleep, in fact it likely made it harder, but, at the time, we were desperate for sleep ourselves. 

At his 3 year old well child visit, I mentioned it to his pediatrician and she recommended Melatonin. I went to the store and got some. And, it worked like magic… for a few years, probably from about 3 – 6.  The last couple years we have noticed it doesn’t work as well, without giving a pretty high dose, and I am not comfortable with that. Also, there are now several stories floating around that it is not good for children. Because of those issues, I have stopped giving it to him. 

So, with that said, he is an insomniac. We try to have lights out by about 8:45 – 9:00. But, he just can’t go to sleep. So, we let him sit on his top bunk with a head lamp and read. Most nights, he doesn’t go to sleep until around 11:30 – midnight. 

At this point, we are not sure what to do. I sometimes feel he is just someone who doesn’t need much sleep. I think as he gets older, it may be just fine. For now, it is rough on the rest of the household as we all need sleep. Thankfully, he is good about staying in his bed and reading. 

In Conclusion

If we are vigilant in giving his medication each day, at roughly the same time, we see improvement in all areas. Ability to focus on tasks, less anger, less hyper activity, etc. 

However, our reality is, we are not great at doing it, and we need to improve to help our son the best we can. 

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