ADHD morning routines

ADHD & Morning Routines: Does medication help?

Dr Shelley Hyman

Morning routine trouble for children with ADHD: stimulants do not help

It has been previously established that children with ADHD have trouble with completing their morning routines compared to other children their age. This means that they may not be able to prepare for school and organise transport in time. More importantly, not being able to start the day right often leads to worse behaviour throughout the day and academic difficulties in the long term, especially if this causes frequent lateness or forgetting to bring school books to class. The current article found, however, that stimulant medication is not effective in helping children with ADHD with their morning routines. Researchers found that caregivers of children with ADHD still reported much higher early morning disorganisation in their children and experienced a greater negative impact on their wellbeing as a result, despite the fact that these children were being prescribed stimulant medication. The ability of caregivers to complete their own morning routines was also affected, and conflict with siblings increased. Research on early morning routines – and in particular the impairments in children with ADHD experience when trying to complete them – is still sparse and the literature underdeveloped. More work still needs to be done to determine if any other similar difficulties are experienced by stimulant-treated children with ADHD through the day, and how strategies may be implemented to address these problems.


  • Faraone, S. V., Schachar, R. J., Barkley, R. A., Nullmeier, R., & Sallee, F. R. (2017). Early morning functional impairments in stimulant-treated children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder versus controls: Impact on the family. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 27(8), 715-722.
Dr Shelley Hyman

About Dr Shelley Hyman

Senior Clinical Neuropsychologist. BSc (psychol) Hons, MClinNeuropsych, PhD (Med) MAPS CCN. Founder and director of the centre that was founded in 2006.