Savvy Blog


Mornings can be hard for all us, but they are especially difficult for children (and even adults) with ADD or ADHD. Children have a hard time moving at a steady pace, getting out the door on time, and avoiding falling into anger or frustration. A recent article by John F. Taylor, Ph.D., entitled “ADHD and the Morning Routine,” explores what causes morning conflicts and struggles. “Why do kids and teens with ADHD have so much irritability and mental disorganization upon first arising?,” he asks. Here are a the key reasons Dr. Taylor provides:

  1. Lowered Brain Nutrients. The ten or so hours between dinner the preceding evening and the moment of arising the next morning deplete needed brain nutrients.
  2. Too Many Decisions. Children with ADHD can be thrust into making too many decisions first thing in the morning, such as what to wear and what to take to school.
  3. Time Pressure. The child with ADHD, along with the rest of the family, may be rushing around, gathering needed materials and competing for bathroom time and breakfast food.
  4. Insufficient Sleep. Children with ADHD require about ten hours of sleep but usually get far less. They are apt to have sleep abnormalities and disturbances during the night that further rob them of the REM sleep needed to refresh brain functioning.
  5. Allergens. Research reveals that about three out of four children and teens with ADHD show increased irritability and mental disorganization when exposed to allergens, including what may occur in a bedroom if certain anti-allergenic measures are not taken

As a parent, what can you do with this information to help get mornings off to a good start? Dr. Taylor suggests steady nighttime routines alongside a protein rich snack about thirty minutes before bed, making sure that the protein snack is not something your child might have an allergic reaction to. According to Dr. Taylor, “here is about a 75 percent likelihood that ADHD symptoms will worsen when a child with ADHD experiences any food allergy.” He also suggests making as many decisions as possible the night before. Pick out clothes, choose lunch items, and the like. To read more of Dr. Taylors suggestions click on the original article, published in Parent Guide News, here. You can find more resources from Dr. Taylor at his website: 

Meredith is the online editor of the Savvy Blog. She lives in Little Rock with her twin sons, dogs, cats, and husband.
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  1. M. Kadokura says:

    It might help to make as many decisions as possible the night before. That way the morning time pressure and normal activity will not disrupt the routine. Home of On-Task On-Time for Kids