A Little Structure = A Happier Summer for ADHD Kids

Summer’s Here – Time to Get Organized

Summer is here and, especially this year, everyone wants to relax, reconnect and have fun. For parents of kids with ADHD, summer can also present a challenge. Their kids can quickly get bored and lose some of they have gained during the school year.

One way to help ensure that your ADHD child has an enjoyable summer (and you too) is to provide plenty of structure and activities that can boost their mind and body.

Keeping to a routine during the summer is just as important for a child with ADHD as it is during the school year because it:

  • Lets them stay organized
  • Helps them manage transitions without melting down
  • Make it less difficult to get back into a good routine when the school year begins

Set Some Goals

The step in creating a summer with some structure is to work with your ADHD child to set some goals that are meaningful to them. These could be to learn some new skills, pursue a creative endeavor or change a behavior that is interfering with his or her relationships.

The goals shouldn’t be about meeting some target objective as much as about trying something and making some progress.

Create a Summer Schedule

Once you and your child have set some goals for the summer’s activities, it’s time to create a schedule that will help them keep organized so they can make progress on those goals.

Post a scheduleBeth Main, an ADHD coach and therapist suggests posting a weekly schedule of planned activities, along with blocks marked out for free time. As new activities or ideas come up, fill in the free-time blocks.

Set a sleep schedule – Also be sure to choose a bedtime—and a wake-up time—to help maintain a regular sleep schedule. This gives kids an easier way to wind down at the end of the day and make mornings less rushed.

Keep a regular eating schedule – Eat meals at regular times. Consistent mealtimes (and healthy snacking) will prevent hunger meltdowns and help even the days more structured.

Consider a Range of Activities

There are many activities your child can choose from:

  • Sports and /or different types of physical activities
  • Arts and crafts
  • Reading and tweaking up academic skills
  • Unstructured play time and quiet time

Depending on COVID restrictions in place in your region, you may  consider summer day camps that feature activities your child is interested in.

The activities should be flexible so that if your child tries something and doesn’t enjoy it, they can try something else.

Don’t Forget the Rewards

Be sure to remember to give your child rewards along the way. The rewards should be for trying and progress, not perfection.

Offer small incentives and try to plan for at least one success a day. Make sure your child gets to do at least one thing he’s really good at—or loves—every day and set aside a special time each day for him or her to tell you about it.

Adding some structure to the summer’s activities can make a huge difference for both you and your child.

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