Summer is a time that most every kid looks forward to at the end of the school year. But the lack of structure and routine can actually leave children with a case of the doldrums. For kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), this boredom can be extremely frustrating. As a parent there are ways to build a balance between leisure and scheduled events, but it requires a little pre-planning and preparation.
A recent article from ADDitude online offers some tips for parents and children to have memorable and enjoyable summer vacation:
Relax the rules but don’t throw them out the door. Even though the summer months are undeniably more laid back, it’s still possible to stick to a family routine. Getting to bed a little later than normal is okay on occasion, but making a habit of late bedtimes can lead to irritability and tantrums.
Maintain a flexible calendar. Kids like to know what to expect, even during the summer months. Having activities scheduled while leaving free time for ad hoc events gives the best of both worlds, providing some structure without the rigidity of the school year. Things to include in the calendar might be family vacations, outings, and play dates – just be sure to allow for down time and family communication.
Allow kids to be themselves. Kids are naturally full of energy, and those with ADHD may experience even more struggles with managing and releasing this energy. It’s important to provide an outlet for children to regularly burn off steam. Whether it’s going to the park or playing in the backyard, just letting kids run free and use their imagination is an important part of play and development. This doesn’t mean that parents have to constantly be entertainers, but they can encourage children to be creative and pursue natural areas of interest.
Take advantage of community resources. A lot of communities offer programs – some free – for kids to participate in during the summer. Whether it’s signing up for a theater class, going swimming at the area rec center, or attending a town festival, there are a plethora of fun things to do if one is willing to dig. And don’t forget about quintessential trips to the zoo or local museums.
Family Guidance Center is a wonderful community resource for families of children living with ADHD. There are many things parents can do to ensure kids have a fun and productive time away from school, regardless of issues with mental health. How could contacting Family Guidance Center benefit you and your family this summer?