Last week I wrote about some ways to find interesting activities for you and your children. The next task is to think about how to incorporate activities into a reasonable routine for your family. For the first few days it is delightful to let everyone sleep in (including you, perhaps) and let the day unfold as it will. But before long, you and the children will chafe. It is hard to get kids going when they’ve become used setting their own agenda. And soon they become bored.
- We know that children with ADD and Executive Function Disorder do better with predictable routine. Once you’ve set a schedule (loosely defined) your children are more likely to go along with it and cooperate with transitions.
- We also know that these children seek novelty. While some parts of the day will be the same from day to day, you can vary the day and add interest by planning outings (see last week’s blog).
- Schedule time that children entertain themselves. This gives you time to make phone calls, pay bills, or read your own book.
- Plan with your children how much time they can spend watching television, using the computer, or playing video games. You can set a specific time of day for these activities. Or you can set an amount of time for the day.
- Be clear with your children about their responsibilities, such as, picking up their things, making their beds, reading on their own (for children who don’t choose this themselves), practicing an instrument, and so forth.
- Vary the activities so that there are quiet times and physical activity times. Remember that your children will be calmer and more focused if you get them moving for part of the day. Some will do this on their own. Some will need to be signed up for swim lessons or have a family bike ride.
- Make sure that you include time that you spend with your children playing a game, walking to the library, riding a bike–whatever you might enjoy.
- Consider trading child care with another parent so you get some time off. Summer brings much more togetherness. You and they could use a break. Camps bring this break, but play dates can as well.
If you can establish a routine, transitions will be much smoother. You will know when you will get a break, which can add to your patience. Your children will likely be more happy with a range of activities. Now, enjoy your summer and Happpy Fourth of July!
All of a sudden school is out and the children are home. They are looking at you for activities, or they might assume they are beginning eight weeks of unlimited television, computer and video games. Not your vision of summer? Let’s think about it together. Many families can provide their children with a week or two of camp at a local Y or scout camp. But that still leaves a lot of summer free time. Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s great for children and parents to have a rest from tightly scheduled school year routines. But we know that kids with ADD do better when they have some structure, predictability and new things to look forward to.
Look around your area for low-cost, entertaining events and activities for children. Many towns offer these.
- Check out your local library. A weekly trip to the library can be a pleasant outing. Everyone gets books and maybe videos. Free. In addition, many libraries have fun summer reading lists and related events for children. There might be a story hour for younger children.
- See whether your town offers events for children in the summer. There might be a puppet show or a magic show.
- Look for a public place to swim. Many pools and beaches offer swim lessons and even swim teams for the summer. It’s a great way to keep you child in shape and entertained for part of the day.
- Team up with another family. Perhaps you can share child care. If you take the children one day, another Mom could take them on another day. Both win.
- Back at the library, find out whether they have passes to local museums. I know that mine does. You have to sign up in advance, but this could give you and your children something to look forward to.
- While we’re on museums, they also are likely to offer activities for children in the summer.
- Sign up for a fun class. Again, check museums and town listings. I’ve known children who took classes in rocketry (make your own), photography, and drawing.
- Purchase a new toy that will keep you child entertained for awhile. Get a new lego set, arts and crafts supplies, or a slip-n-slide.
I think you get the idea. One can find activities that won’t break the bank. Go ahead and take your children to an amusement park or a water park as well, but activites like these will fill the many days in between big events and camp.
Next week I’ll blog about setting a summer routine for those disorganized children with ADD and executive function disorder.