Summer is upon us again. Bright green leaves explode onto the trees, the smell of barbeque whets our appetites and the sweet sounds of birds singing relax us. And, oh yes, the kids are out of school. Boredom and therefore bad behavior blossoms, the arguments of curfew and bedtime heat up like the summer asphalt, and the sour sounds of complaining drown out the birds. This may be especially the case for the child who has ADD or ADHD (Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder). Sure he or she hates school as much or more than the next child, but the structure of school is gone which can be stressful for that child. What to do next?
Predictability and structure are important for children with ADD or ADHD. There are some simple ways to maintain this:
- Have a meeting with your kids. Let them know what you expect from them for the summer and hear what their expectations are. Write these things down so you all know what the boundaries are.
- Make a chart or calendar that notes all upcoming events and even chores and the days they are expected to be completed.
- Try to have a consistent routine of day to day living such as times expected to be wake up in the morning, chore times, free time, meal times, and activity times.
- Find activities to do as a family and separately. More ideas on that are listed below.
- Discuss your child’s medications with your child and doctor. Make a plan on whether or not he or she will take them and when. Most children with ADD or ADHD and their families note a better quality of life when the child is on the medications.
- Make an award system or point system for your child for making good decisions and sticking to the routine that was agreed on. This can actually be a fun game for him or her and is more effective than punishment for not doing what is expected.
IDEAS FOR SUMMER ACTIVITIES
- Day camps.
- Play dates.
- Crafts such as scrapbooking, collecting, art projects, etc.
- Sports programs, exercise programs, gym memberships such as the community
- recreation center.
- Outdoor activities; park visits, hikes, biking, fishing.
- Day trips to the zoo or aquarium.
- Theater, dance or performance programs.
- Volunteering at a hospital, shelter, etc.
- Board games, card games.
- Community college classes (yes, some adolescents will be interested in this!). They have interesting classes like automobile repair, carpentry, photography, etc.
- IMAX and other movies.
- Be a tourist in your own town; the mint, observatory, etc.
Thanks to “Attention” magazine, June 2007, a property of CHADD –Children and Adults with AttentionDeficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (www.chadd.org).