Apps for Smoother Mornings

 ADHD Weekly 2017-02-16

Are mornings the most difficult time of day for your children? You’re not alone. Many parents of children and teens affected by ADHD find the whole morning routine can cause stress for everyone involved. You might wonder why mornings are such a troubled time and what you can do to help make them go more smoothly.

Morning tasks require executive functions such as attentional control, inhibitory control, working memory, cognitive flexibility, reasoning, problem-solving, and planning. In the recent CHADD webcast How to Survive Mornings with ADHD, Michele Novotni, PhD, explains that tasks managed by the brain’s executive functions are difficult for people with ADHD, and in the mornings there are lot of these tasks. The apps we reviewed below have free trial versions; there may be costs for the full version. Always test out a new app to see if you find it to be useful before making a purchase.

“If you look at the different things you have to do in the morning it requires a lot of self-regulatory behavior, a lot of decision-making, a lot of time management, and a lot of organization,” Dr. Novotni says.

There is an app for that! Everything from getting your children out of bed, dressed, following directions, and staying organized so they can make it out the door with everything they need—there are smart phone apps that can help.

Apps can support the tasks you have to accomplish in the morning. Since many morning activities are affected by ADHD symptoms, technology can be a great tool to remind, organize, and keep your child on track. Here are five apps to try with your child or teen to help manage executive functioning difficulties better:

  1. Sleep Cycle
    Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the first steps to having a better morning routine. Sleep Cycle is an alarm clock that tracks the different stages of sleep while you’re sleeping. You set an alarm window of 30 minutes and when it’s time to wake up, sleep cycle wakes you up in your lightest sleep phase, thereby making it easier to wake and get going! Available for Apple and Android devices.
  2. Happy Kids Timer
    Happy Kids Timer helps your children complete their morning routine easily and on time. It incorporates an incentive program with the timer. You choose the order of the tasks and the time spent in each activity. As your child completes activities he receives stars. You set the reward and the number of stars that your child must collect to receive the reward. Activities can be enabled or disabled as needed for your child’s schedule. You can customize the morning routine for each day. Available for Apple and Android devices.
  3. Habit List
    If you’re looking to help your teens improve their morning routine, Habit List can help them reach their goals. Teens can create goals specific to their morning routine or add goals throughout the day. It allows them to set reminders and notifications for each goal and tracks their progress of achieving the goals. It also allows for flexible scheduling so they can customize their habits to each day’s specific routine. Available for Apple devices.
  4. Closet
    If getting dressed and choosing what to wear in the morning is one of your child’s or teen’s biggest early morning issues, Closet can help you prepare outfits ahead of time. You can work with your child to take pictures of her clothing and import them into the app. You or your child can organize clothing into categories, outfits and favorites. If your child worries about when she wore an item of clothing last, you can track that as well. You can plan a whole week’s worth of outfits ahead of time by adding outfits to the built-in calendar. All your child or teen has to do each morning is grab the prepared outfit and go. Available for Apple devices.
  5. Brush DJ
    If getting your child to brush his teeth is a battle, Brush DJ might be just what you need. This app plays two minutes of music to encourage brushing for an effective amount of time. You download your child’s favorite song onto your device and select it to play in the app. You can also use it to set reminders to brush twice a day, floss, and other dental hygiene activities. Available for Apple and Android devices.

Bonus App: Cozi 

Cozi is an organizer for families. It helps coordinate the schedules of everyone in your family, giving you a color-coded calendar. It sets reminders and sends emails based on the calendar’s activities. You can also use it to create a to-do list for each person in your family and, by adding due dates, it synchronizes with your calendar.  It includes a place to store recipes and plan meals. You can easily transfer recipe ingredients to a shopping list. It brings all the features together in the daily agenda where you can see a list of upcoming events, your current to-dos, and the shopping list based on your planned meals. Available for Apple, Android and Windows phones, and web browsers.

For more great tips on helping your children manage mornings with ADHD, you can watch the entire webinar How to Survive Mornings with ADHD for free now.