ADHD & Sleep: During the Holidays

Holiday Time Management

Can’t get them to sleep because they’re too wired during the holidays? It’s important to take a few minutes at the end of the day to sit in a quiet spot and talk about how the day went. Take that same time to review the schedule for tomorrow. Remember, fewer surprises mean smoother days to an ADHD child. You can review the day’s schedule (both successes and failures) verbally and visually. Post successes on the fridge.

Doing this on a regular basis may seem a chore for both of you at first, but adhering to this will settle their minds for a full night’s sleep and get them prepared for the following day. Additionally, it teaches them effective time management while helping you maintain your sanity!

ADHD Adults: Start Pre-Planning for the Holidays.

ADHD Adults: Start Pre-Planning for the Holidays.

Tis the Season . .

When we think of the holiday season, we think of merriment and cheer, but for some adults with ADHD, this is not always the case. The shopping, the wrapping, the planning – all require organization, which can be a challenge to adults with or without ADHD.

The following is a compilation of great tips and tricks to stay organized, be efficient, and simplify this “holidazed” time of the year!

“Don’t forget that you set the tone for your home. Pace yourself and take well-deserved breaks!

List 1: Holiday Traditions

Create family memories by first holding a family meeting to discuss each person’s favorite traditions. It’s what you do, not what you buy, that’s important, so don’t overlook small but significant family rituals. This list might include:

Buy one new ornament for the tree
Keep favorite holiday music going in December
Hold a cookie baking session with the kids
Take holiday photos
Stock up on hot cocoa mix for Sunday evenings

List 2: Holiday Menus and Recipes

Plan to fix your family’s favorites – this is not the time to experiment!
Plan each course for the major holiday meals
List all the recipes you will use, noting the cookbook each is in and page numbers
List the ingredients you’ll need for each dish
List any specialty ingredients that you can’t get at the supermarket
Make a baking ingredients shopping list

List 3: Gifts

Break up your shopping by buying one or two gifts online each day. If you purchase from catalogs, place orders well before December 10 – to ensure that items are still in stock and to avoid express shipping fees. Make a shopping list that details for each person on the list:
Whether you will make or buy the gift
What you’re giving (keep homemade presents simple)
How much you can spend
The store or catalog where you’ll buy the gift. If you’re ordering online or from a catalog, write down the Web site and tracking number
Whether the present has been wrapped
Keep your receipts (in an envelope)

List 4: Dates to Put on Your Calendar

Fend off procrastination by reviewing this list each week.
Deadlines for homemade gifts
Shipping deadlines (mail early!)
Date to mail cards
Departure dates (if you’re traveling)
Arrival dates (if people are visiting)
Party dates
School, religious, office, and volunteer functions “[1]

“Louise Kurzeka, Minneapolis-based organizer, has three additional suggestions to help everyone make the most of their time and get the best use of their available space using practical, sustainable strategies.

A Gathering Place – Whether you’re having all the relatives over for Christmas eve dinner or just a few friends for a caroling party, start by designating a big tub or laundry basket as the gathering container for items you’ll need. By gathering items as you go and having just one place to look for them, you’ll be ahead of the game on the day of your big event.

Mad Money – Budgeting the dollars and cents of holiday spending can ruin anyone’s mood. But you’ll go from mad to glad if you simplify the process. Start with a sturdy business size envelope where you can list your gift recipients. Next to each name, pencil in the dollar amount you would typically spend on a gift for that person. Add up the amounts and compare the total to your checkbook balance. Are you within your budget? Go back to adjust the amounts as needed so you don’t end up with a post-holiday money-hangover!

Wrap it up – Hiding gifts, remembering where they are and digging them out to wrap them at the last minute is a lot more work than just wrapping them as you go. Commit to wrapping gifts as you return from each shopping trip. To make this job easier, decide on a place in the house that can serve as a gift-wrap center; a corner of the basement, a spare bedroom, even the formal dining room (comes with its own wrapping table!) Choose a place out of the main traffic areas. If needed add a card table so you’ll have a raised flat surface to use for wrapping. Stand wrapping paper rolls upright in a new garbage barrel or large pail. Place gift bags and tissue in one of the larger sized Ziploc plastic tote bags. Use another for bows, ribbon, gift tags, scissors and tape. The see-through bags make for a quick search for what you want and need. Unless you really enjoy the art of gift-wrapping, ditch the flat paper wrap. Bags are much faster (and reusable, so they’re environmentally friendly.)
Making just a few changes in how you handle common holiday chores can leave you with more time to enjoy the spirit of the season with the special people of your life.”[2]

We at Play Attention realize the holiday season can be a very stressful, overwhelming time of the year. Do you wish you could talk to someone who knows what you’re going through?
Simply call 800-788-6786, to schedule a free consultation with one of our experts. Tell us what day and time will work best for you to take about 15 minutes that will change your life. Our team of specialists have over 20 years of personal and professional experience with attention challenges. We will discuss your needs and provide you with a solution that will work best for you.

Remember Play Attention is a fantastic “Healthy Holiday Gift”! Give your loved one a gift that will last a lifetime – improved attention and a successful future![3]


Thanks ADHD!

This Thanksgiving week, we get together with our families and give thanks for a variety of things.  Many of us in the Play Attention family live with ADHD, so we wanted to know what makes you thankful for ADHD.  We polled our clients and this is what we heard: 

1. I think having ADHD makes me incredibly creative – Mary, 22 year old college student

2. My son has ADHD, and he has a huge sense of humor.  He makes me laugh every day – Lilly, mom of a 14 year old son

3. I find at work I am more successful because I am able to think outside the box.  Thanks ADHD! – Richard, 46 year old software engineer

4. In my practice I specialize in working with ADHD adults. I find my clients to be extremely passionate about the people and causes they hold dear – Dr. Zhang, Psychologist

5. My closest friend and old college roommate has ADHD. We have been friends for over 20 years. I treasure her quirky personality and (slightly exaggerated) stories about her life adventures – Gwen, Vice President of Play Attention

6. Although many people say the risk taking behavior of a person with ADHD is a negative. I have found it to be a positive.  I have had many more exciting experiences and traveled to more places than many of my peers – Jillian, 30 year old photographer

7. I teach gifted and talented 6th and 7th graders. Many of my students have ADHD. These students never stop surprising me with their ingenuity. When given an assignment where you only think there is one possible end result, they tend to produce results you never considered! – Roman, Public school teacher

8. My daughter and I both have ADHD. It has given us a common bond that other fathers and daughters do not have. This bond has strengthened our relationship, and I cherish that – Bill and Melissa, Father & Daughter with ADHD

9. I am an ADHD life coach. My clients are extraordinarily resilient. Life continues  to be challenging, and they never give up  – Maria, ADHD Coach

10. ADHD gave us Jim Carey, Will Smith, Lisa Ling, Justin Timberlake, Mary Kate Olsen, Cammi Granato, Josh Freeman, & Bubba Watson – The Wells Family (Mom, dad, 2 daughters, and 1 son all living with and loving our ADHD.)

Play Attention
We Transform Your Mind. You Transform Your Life.
Call Now! 800-788-6786

Attend our FREE informational webinar to learn more. Register Here.

Take Care of Yourself … First

You love your bright, creative, energetic, caring child. And yes, he also happens to have ADHD which often comes always take care of yourself firstwith these fantastic characteristics. However, there is the other side of ADHD. The side that results in constant calls from the school, doctor’s appointments, arguments, tears, and nights with endless amounts of homework. This is often the source of many challenges and frustrations. You can sometimes feel simply overwhelmed and exhausted. When these feelings occur, it is important that you remind yourself how important it is for you to take care of yourself.

Taking care of yourself when you are constantly focused on taking care of others can be difficult. You feel if you spend that 60 minutes at the gym or indulge in a much-needed massage, you are somehow being selfish. It important to remind yourself that taking care of yourself is not selfish, it is necessary. If you do not take care of yourself emotionally and physically, then you will not have the physical and mental resources to take care of others.

It’s been so long since you have thought about “me time”. What to do?

• “Walk it off”. Studies have shown that simply taking a walk in nature has a host of mental health benefits. Walking outside can improve your health and your mood.
• Find a parent support group. Look in your area for an ADHD support group. It may be a good experience for you to chat with other parents who are having similar experiences.
• Eat healthy. Eating clean foods and avoiding processed or fast foods can improve your overall health, energy levels, and clarity of mind.
• Don’t overschedule. You say, “Yes, I will make the cupcakes for the class party. Yes, I will drive the carpool for soccer. Yes, I can organize the field trip.” Did you forget there literally are only 24 hours in a day? You cannot do it all and take care of yourself. Overscheduling causes unnecessary stress and fatigue. Practice saying, “Sorry, I cannot do that this time.”
• Get enough sleep. It is recommended that adults get at least 7.5-8 hours of sleep per night. Minimal sleep loss takes a toll on your mood, energy, mental sharpness, and ability to handle stress.
• Schedule some leisure time. Why leisure time? Bradley hospital reports leisure time, “An opportunity to examine personal values, to focus on what is important to you. It gives you the balance you need to deal with your non-leisure activities.”

Take a breath. Take time for yourself. And all your loved ones will benefit.

Learn how you can help your child or clients improve attention, memory, impulsivity and more! Attend an upcoming webinar. Register here.

Parents, ADHD Kids & Homework

New research can help this volatile mix

A new study by Dr. William Pelham, a leader in ADHD research, and his team, sheds significant light on homework skills, parenting, and medication. The researchers compared homework-focused behavioral parent training against medication.

The study found that ADHD children who did homework under the guidance of trained parents improved 10% to 13% in homework completion and about 8% improved in homework accuracy. That’s equivalent to the parent treatment group achieving an average C grade, versus an average F grade for those who didn’t get the parent training. Significantly, they found medication had nonsignificant effects on homework completion and accuracy.

The major tool the parents received during training was the Daily Report Card.

According to the study’s lead author, Brittany M. Merrill, “The daily report card . . . is a communication tool between parents and teachers and is a core component of most school-based behavioral interventions for children with ADHD. In our study, teachers set realistic goals for the children’s homework—assigning an age-appropriate amount and requiring 80% completion and 100% accuracy on the assignments. Parents evaluated how the child did on homework each evening and returned the note to the teacher the next morning in the child’s homework folder. Children then received small rewards in the classroom based on homework completion at home, in addition to the rewards they received at home for finishing homework.”

So what if the researchers combined medication with parent training? They tested that method and found it did not work any better than the parent training intervention alone.

Getting the right training seems to make a significant difference.

Need help with homework? Call 800.788.6786.

Attend an upcoming webinar and learn how you can use our Academic Bridge program to assist with homework!

Top 5 Myths About ADHD that Confuse Parents

1. Girls don’t get ADHD. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that in many states, boys are diagnosed twice as often as boys. Girls often do not ‘act out’ or rebel as much as boys, so the squeaky wheel, i.e. boys, often get the diagnosis. ADHD does affect girls likely as much as boys.

2. Getting good grades means I don’t have ADHD. Many ADHD students are bright and make good grades. However, other areas of their lives are affected including social skills, organization, and finishing tasks.

3. Only hyperactive kids have ADHD. ADHD is now a generic term for 3 types of attention problems. The American Psychiatric Association categorizes ADHD into three subtypes: inattentive, hyperactive-impulsive, and combined hyperactivity and inattention. So, kids with inattentive ADHD tend to be easily distracted but don’t display hyperactivity.

4. Most kids will outgrow ADHD. Long term studies have shown that most children do not outgrow ADHD. Some do outgrow it, but they are in the minority.

5. ADHD children and adults cannot pay attention. Absolutely false. Although your child may play video games for hours, they still can have ADHD. Give them something that truly interests them, and they will ‘hyperfocus’ on it for hours. Give them a typical classroom environment and they are often bored. Bottom line: they can pay attention — sometimes better than the average person. However, to do this, the stimulus must be something they are truly interested in or something highly visually stimulating. They lose attention quickly to less stimulating things.

Another Myth: ADHD cannot be managed. False! Attend our FREE Play Attention webinar and learn how you can be successful with ADHD!

Know Your Rights

New guidance on the civil rights of ADHD students

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 ensures protection of ADHD students under law. However, its special Section 504 often varies among school administrators.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has has issued a guidance clarifying the rights of ADHD students in light of nationwide allegations that schools were not providing ADHD students the services they need to be successful.

“Over the last five years, OCR has received more than 16,000 complaints that allege discrimination on the basis of disability in elementary and secondary education programs, and more than 10 percent involve allegations of discrimination against students with ADHD. The most common complaint concerns academic and behavioral difficulties students with ADHD experience at school when they are not timely and properly evaluated for a disability, or when they do not receive necessary special education or related aids and services,” states the OCR’s guidance.
To view the full release defining your child’s rights regarding evaluation/assessment and services go to:

If you want to learn more about your rights, or if you believe that your school is violating Federal law, you may contact the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, at (800) 421-3481, (800) 877-8339 (TDD), or

You may also file a complaint online at

Play Attention can teach your student the skills he/she needs to be successful in school. Call us at 800-788-6786 or attend an upcoming webinar to learn more.

Meet the New Teacher!

Your child is nervous about the first day of school. It’s normal and natural. We all want to establish a good relationship right from day one.

It’s important that both you and your child have a positive relationship with the teacher. It’s a good idea to ask your child’s teacher if he/she would have a moment to meet with you before school begins. If time will not allow for this, write the teacher a personal letter.

Things to keep in mind for the meeting/letter:

1. Keep it positive. You may have had some bad experiences in the past. Do not bring that experience with you. Start things on a positive note.

2. Discuss your child’s strengths. Often we are so keyed into discussing accommodations, social issues, etc. we forget that may children with ADHD have strengths that their peers may not. These could include being the classroom errand person to release some pent up energy, or wiping down the white board, or passing out papers.

3. Express your concerns about the new year. Give suggestions letting the teacher know what strategies have worked in the past. Ask if he/she thinks some of those strategies could be used. Also include the strategies that haven’t worked, such as isolating your child, or testing in essay form. If there is an IEP or 504 in place bring a couple of copies and review the goals.

4. Ask for his/her suggestions on certain areas. For example, “How can we communicate so you can let me know when Johnny may be having difficulties in school?” Be certain to listen to the suggestions and come up with an initial plan.

5. Don’t overwhelm the teacher. Bring up just 3 topics that you are concerned about and get these concerns addressed. You will have time to bring up other concerns as the year progresses. And you just may be surprised – some concerns from the past may not be issues at all this year!

6. Be certain to listen and compromise. Remember that while your child is your main concern, the classroom teacher has at least twenty other students to consider.

7. Leave the teacher with the feeling that you are in this to work together for your child’s benefit. Be sure to thank him/her for their time. Appreciation goes a long way towards cooperation.

8. If you want to visit the classroom, ask how he/she would like you to visit. Would he/she like a call a week before to arrange a specific time? Would the teacher like you to work with another child in the classroom while you are there? What will work best for that teacher, your child, and the other students in the classroom?

9. When you get home share with your child the good things you have learned about the new teacher. Your positive feelings about the teacher will lessen some of the anxieties your child may be having about the new school year.

10. Get ready for a positive and successful new school year!

Play Attention can help parents boost their child’s academic performance from the privacy of their own home. For more information attend one of our speed webinars or call 800 788 6786.

How to avoid spending all night on homework

Make homework time a success.

Does this scenario sound familiar? “We spend hours on homework every night with my daughter. This is so frustrating for the entire family and really makes our evenings miserable. She just doesn’t seem to be able to get anything done without me or my husband standing over her and constantly redirecting her.”
-Norah, Mother wanting to reclaim her nights

Homework time is a huge challenge for a lot of families. One of the biggest frustrations is that the child is bright and CAN do the work, it’s just the process that is difficult. They cannot seem to start the homework in a timely manner and stay on task until completion. This often results in 15 minutes of homework taking 2 hours and a fight!child and the school set, ready for school

You can definitely take some steps to help with this process and reclaim your nights!

    Set up a special Homework Center:

Do you send your child to their room to do homework? Is the room so full of distractions that it is impossible for the child to stay on task? Is your child constantly wasting time before homework because he/she cannot find the materials needed?

Your solution: Create a special homework center with your child and eliminate the distractions and wasted time. The more you get your child involved in this process the more special the area becomes to your child!

Find an area that is conducive to doing homework. It should not be in the center of the home where there are lots of visual and auditory distractions. To get your child involved in the decision making process pick out 3 areas and let the child choose which area he/she would like the best.

Make a list. Sit down with your child and make a list of all of the items needed in the homework center. Items may include pens, pencils, lined paper, an in-box for homework assignments, an out-box for completed assignments, calculator, bookshelf, scissors, trashcan etc. If you plan wisely there should be no more, “but mom I can’t find…”.

Make certain you have a clean work space with a comfortable chair. You may choose to include a bean bag so he/she can be nice and comfy when reading. You may want to include a chair for yourself so you will have a spot when reviewing the homework.

Have a timer. Timers are a great way to teach time management. Include a timer in the homework area so you can set up time limits for different assignments.

Post a bulletin board so you can post good grades, personal goals, or a reward board.

Play Attention offers an excellent Academic Bridge game that can be used during homework. Academic Bridge will allow you and your child to monitor his/her attention during homework time. Sheer Genius (the program character adapted from Albert Einstein, (whom also had ADHD)), will give the child constant feedback as to when he/she is paying attention and when he/she is not. You will no longer have to redirect your child. This game will actually teach your child how to start and complete homework with full attention and in a timely manner.

Taking the time now to create a special homework center with your child can save you a lot of time and energy in the end. And it may just make homework time a little more enjoyable!

Academic Bridge:

Play Attention is sponsoring Additude Magazine’s upcoming webinar
Webinar Topic: Homework Problems You Can Solve: A Parent’s Guide to Conquering Assignments
Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016 at 1 PM
Register here

Rise and Shine! Time for school.

Good Mornings!

Goodbye to the lazy days of summer. Hello morning madness!

With the start of school comes that morning hustle. You are trying to get yourself to work, lunches packed, homework signed, and kids out the door all in a timely manner. This can cause a bit of stress in any home. A harried morning can really affect the rest of your day. Be certain that you take some steps to organize yourself, your children, and your spouse. Create a morning that is truly a good morning!

Three days before school starts:

    During the summer months we tend to be less strict on bedtimes, mainly because mornings are much more relaxed and schedules are looser. You may want to consider starting the school bedtime/wake up routine a few days before school actually starts. Especially if your little one is hard to get out of bed. You may also want to set an alarm to start that routine. Even if you set the alarm for 9 am, you’ll start establishing the routine of your child getting up with an alarm.

    To take it one step further, once up have your child eat breakfast and dress for the day. This will help establish the routine before the big day.

The night before:

    Everyone lays out his or her clothes for the next day.
    Set the breakfast table so children can have easy access to everything they will need for breakfast.
    Make certain backpacks are packed with homework and all permission slips etc., are signed.
    Pack lunches.


    Have a checklist for the morning routine for children to follow. Children can check off each step as it is completed.
    Have specific places for items. For example, make certain to put your car keys on a rack, jacket in closet and purse on the table by the door. Be consistent. This will help you avoid looking for lost items in the morning.
    Teach your child the focus and behavioral techniques necessary for learning and increase their academic performance.

Play Attention integrates feedback technology with cognitive skill training and behavior shaping. You may learn more about Play Attention at one of our upcoming Speed Webinars. At the webinar you can learn how Play Attention can help your child develop coping skills that will last a lifetime.

Register for our Speed Webinars: