Hyperactive children normally receive a pill in the morning, along with their breakfast. If a child takes his pill at 8 a.m., you can expect him to do his best schoolwork around 10 a.m., two hours later. Many children also receive a dose at lunchtime. There is, however, some debate as to whether this second pill is necessary, since it doesn’t seem to work as effectively as the morning one.
By the time the child goes home at 3 p.m., Ritalin has already started washing out of his system. And by late afternoon, 4 or 5 p.m., he may even become more irritable and hyperactive than he normally is. Apparently some hyperactive children go through a drug withdrawal reaction, as the level of medication in their blood drops. Needless to say this does not make things any easier for their parents. Giving children an additional afternoon or night-time dose is not recommended because it may cause sleep disturbances.