Tips for Dealing with ADD/ADHD During COVID-19 (For the Kids!)

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Tips for Dealing with ADD/ADHD During COVID-19 (For the Kids!)

My name is Brooke Cornett and I am a sophmore at Purdue University Northwest. Having dealt with ADD and ADHD in school as a child, and now studying Psych and Mental Health in college, I can offer an interesting perspective on the subject. I have had to, by trial and error, test these methods on myself growing up and now am in the position to study their effectiveness on a broader scale through the University.

Trying to do schoolwork with ADD/ADHD is hard enough as it is, but now we have a pandemic and have to do it all online? What a nightmare! But fear not! As someone who grew up struggling with ADD/ADHD, I understand how difficult it can be. Over many years of practice and experience, I have come up with some helpful tips on how to help increase focus.

Some of the tips are quite simple, but can help a lot!

Eat before you work.

  • That rumble in your stomach can be really distracting! Even for people without attention deficits!
  • Have some snacks at the ready in case you get peckish during class, and make sure to eat a hearty breakfast and lunch (eating healthy tends to be beneficial).

Keep water at the ready.

  • It can be way too easy to get distracted by a dry mouth, but it can also be too easy to get distracted by leaving to get water constantly!

Keep your hands busy.

  • Your brain is constantly seeking stimulation, especially when you're listening to boring lectures all day! This may not work for everyone, but I suggest having something to keep your hands busy.
  • A few things may include:
    • Fidget toys, chewing necklace, stress balls, clicking a pen, etc.

Listen to music.

  • I suggest instrumental music, but some people can focus on what they are doing even if the songs they listen to have words. Personally, I find it easier to focus if my music is just instrumental.

Pick somewhere quiet or secluded.

  • Try to pick a place in your house where you can reduce as many distractions as possible. That could be your bedroom or a study, anywhere in which you will not be disturbed.

Put your phone on "do not disturb"!

  • Phones are super distracting! Put your phone on silent or do not disturb.
  • If you have a really hard time staying off of your phone, I recommend either turning it off or putting it in another room until you are done with schoolwork (this also accounts for any other devices you may have)!

Take breaks.

  • This may not work for everyone, but if possible, give yourself a break every once and awhile! It can be 5-30 minutes long, but I do not suggest making it much longer or you may never want to get back to school!
  • I do not recommend this, but I rarely take breaks because it can break my focus. Just give the breaks a try and see what works for you!

Let the people in your house know!

  • I cannot count the amount of times the people in my house have interrupted me while I was trying to do schoolwork! A good way to prevent this is by simply letting them know. Make sure they know when you have class, and when you are trying to do homework.

Get comfy!

  • It gets difficult to focus when your back hurts or you're wearing something itchy. Wear comfortable clothes, and sit somewhere comfortable, whether that be in bed, on your favorite chair, or that spot on the couch that feels just right.

As I have said several times, these tips do not work for everyone! Give some of them a try but if it doesn't work, don't stress about it. Even with all of these suggestions, it will still be difficult, but do not give up! Just keep working hard, and believe in yourself!

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