This summer survival guide helps parents of ADHD kids deal with the biggest potential headaches of the summer months.
While parents are at work or running errands, many kids sit around the house eating junk food, playing video games, watching tv, etc. - exactly all of the things that worsen ADHD symptoms.
Lack of structure and unattended hyperactivity can result in impulsive behaviors, increased accidents, hospital visits, destruction of toys/property, all-round chaos, etc.
As my fellow moms understand, by the time you return home from work or running errands it is often too late. (I once came home to discover that my son creatively rearranged the furniture and was about to start painting our cat, but that’s a funny story for another day.)
But this does not have to be your fate! With a little planning any parent can not only prevent these unwanted scenarios, but you can also improve the quality of life for you and your child.
In short, be wary of too much downtime in the summer months and recognize the importance of maintaining a consistent routine.
Get them involved in activities. Activities for kids with ADHD can include individual sports, bike riding, martial arts classes, dance classes, whatever they enjoy.
It is important to note that individual sports tend to be better for kids with ADHD because organized team sports often require understanding of player roles, learning and running plays, learning
if-then context-based strategies, etc. which can be challenging or
simply unenjoyble for a majority of ADHD children.
Even better, find an activity that you both enjoy that you can do together!
This is beneficial for many reasons: exercise decreases hyperactivity, you will both sleep better (which also alleviates ADHD symptoms), shared experiences increase bonding between parents and children, and you’ll enjoy increased health benefits in terms of losing excess weight, getting fitter, etc.
Consistent routines are essential for ADHD’ers in order to function at their best. For example, they should go to sleep and wake up the same time as they would for school.
Academic classes or tutoring provide children with critical support in terms of improving learning deficits and helps prepare them for the upcoming school year. This is especially important for ADHD kids who also have diagnosed learning disorders.
Different than individual sports but can be highly beneficial if your child is not into athletics. There are many health benefits from being in nature (reduced anxiety, reduced hyperactivity, increased mindfulness, appreciation of nature and animals, etc).
Why not teach your child how to tend a garden? Grow some of your own food or beautiful flowers, etc. It’s a win-win for the whole family.
Your child may enjoy joining the Boy Scouts or Girls Scouts.
No summer survival guide would be complete without mentioning summer camps. They are a great resource: they engage children on many levels (outdoor activities, learning) and can teach children essential social skills which is a challenge for many children suffering from ADHD.
You can find a handy list of recommended summer camps here: ADHD Summer Camps.