Summer & kids with ADHD
Are you ready for when that final school bell rings? With a little planning and creativity, your summer can be stress-free and tons of fun for your child. Use these ideas to plan a successful summer.
While all kids can benefit from routine and structure, it’s even more important for kids with conditions like ADHD and Asperger syndrome (ASD). For kids with these or other behavioral disorders, the predictability of the school day is actually very comforting.
To avoid surprises and uncertainty during the summer season, create and share a calendar of scheduled activities with your child. Let them know what’s coming with an outline of the day, week and month. From wake-up time and breakfast to outings, sports and family plans, give the summer some structure. Include blocks for free time that you can fill in as you go. In some cases, it may be helpful to keep wake-up and bedtimes consistent with the school year.
One way to balance fun with structure is by planning themed outings. For example, an “outing of the day” model might designate Mondays for going to the park, Tuesdays for the library and so on. Or you could design a weekly theme, such as “exploring outer space,” with a series of activities for each day of the week, all geared toward that theme. Be sure to provide advance warning if an activity needs to be canceled due to weather.
You’ll be happy to know there are plenty of camps designed specifically for kids with behavioral and learning disorders. A camp will help your child stick to a structure in a fun way, and counselors can teach them to persevere through challenges. Camps are also great for physical activity and building social skills. When choosing a camp, consider the discipline policy, activities offered, staff-to-child ratio and what kind of training the staff has.
Summer is a perfect time to work on the behavioral or academic skills your child learns during the school year. For kids with behavioral issues, you might agree to work together on waiting your turn, not interrupting or sharing. Develop a checklist of specific steps, then practice and track the progress together. Don’t forget to celebrate and reward your child’s achievements.
Children with ADHD and dyslexia have a tendency to regress in summer months if they don’t practice the academic skills they’ve learned. Reading is one of the most critical skills, and it can be made into a fun summer activity. Create a summer reading list together and plan for at least 20 minutes of reading every other day. Let them select books from the library or bookstore.
You can also assign added summer chores or household jobs to encourage responsibility.
Give Them a Say
With all this structure, it’s important to let your kid have a say in some summer activities. Let them pick an activity that they love or are really good at, and fill it into some of the free time blocks on your summer calendar. You might provide a list of options ranging from dance, music or art class to a sport or specific outing, and then let them choose one.
Many ADHD children have special talents, but kids with Asperger’s tend to have activities or subjects that they love intensely. This makes summer a good time to let them pursue these talents and desires.
Family time is an important way to show your child that he or she is loved just the way they are. Whether you’re working on a puzzle together, going camping or planning a picnic, it’s important to schedule some family time. This tells your child that he or she is important, and also supports positive growth together.
Summer break is around the corner, and it's a perfect time to enroll your child in The Brain Balance Program®! This summer, you can help your child tackle their challenges and be ready to start the next year AHEAD, instead of behind.