Saturday, May 25, 2013

ADHD Summer Bucket List for Kids

With the Memorial Day Weekend upon us, we all know that summertime fun has finally arrived. However, the kind of fun you have in mind may be different from the fun your child is thinking about, especially if he or she is challenged with ADHD.

So, how can a parent plan well for the summer break when a child has ADHD? In this week's article, we're serving up a pretty good summer bucket list with what we think has just the right mix of strategies, activities and resources for your child and you. We hope you'll both agree!

Time for Physical Activity & Good Exercise

First and foremost, plan for plenty of physical activity. Walking with your child to the park or in your neighborhood are great ways to begin to work in movement and exercise into a daily routine, particularly if you experienced a prolonged winter season this year in your area. While at the park, encourage a climb on the monkey bars to help improve balance and brain connectivity. Scheduling this activity at or near a set time of the day will add structure to your child’s summer routine, which is very important for individuals of any age with ADHD. You may be surprised to learn that you’ll also have some of the best conversations with your child during these little walks and park visits. Exercise will help improve the quality of sleep for both of you, too.

Reading Time Fun

You’ll want to remember to set aside some “quiet time” for reading, too. Again, plan a specific time to read. This often works best when it is planned after a period of physical activity. Visiting the local library on a regular basis will yield great results, whether you walk or ride there. Good conversations about books will stimulate both of you, and you will learn a great deal about your child---his reading preferences, his learning style, his opinions, and much more. In addition, adding this to your child’s summer routine will also help prevent the well-known “summer slide” from occurring. Frequent library visits in the summer are a MUST! (Hint: Teen boys often prefer non-fiction to fiction!)

Time for a New Hobby/Sport

If your child has an interest in a new hobby, sport or other pastime, but the school year doesn’t allow time for such an addition to your busy schedule, the summer break presents a unique opportunity to try something new---but something the child chooses. Activities that involve the martial arts, dance, or indoor soccer (notice again the physical activity to expend energy!) are just a few options to consider. Your child will give you the best ideas on this. Let him or her do the choosing. Dance studios, karate organizations and sports complexes sometimes offer free sessions to see if there is an interest. Check to see what your community may have to offer your child.

Hands-on, Creative Time

Also, do encourage your child to engage in activities that require specific thinking and manual skills. Working with a Lego model kit or complex puzzle is a great pastime---and can actually be soothing, too, especially for a child with ADHD. These can be great hands-on activities that often teach how to follow directions correctly and how to properly follow through with tasks to completion, two areas where children with ADHD need practice and assistance.


These are just a few ideas to get you started with your summer planning---there are others, too. It is really ALL about BALANCE here. Combine exercise with creative, brain-building activities, and your child with ADHD will blossom this summer---AND will also be much more prepared for the coming school year!

In addition to the ideas presented here, we also wanted to include a list of extra resources for you and your child. We hope that what you discover here will provide many options for you in planning an enjoyable and productive summer for your child with ADHD.

Summer Resources for ADHD

A Great Summer Vacation for Your ADHD Child---by Peter Jaksa, Ph.D.---from ADDitude Magazine

Backyard Summer Camp: 4 Outdoor Games and Activities---from Parents Magazine

The ABCs of Summer: An A to Z Guide to the Summer Season---from Parents Magazine

ADDitude's Complete Guide to ADHD Summer Camps---by Phyllis Hanlon---from ADDitude Magazine
How to choose the right camp for your ADHD child

ADHD Sample Schedule: A Step-by-Step Routine for Parents---FREE handout from ADDitude Magazine
Children with attention deficit disorder (ADD/ADHD) thrive on routines that make them feel safe, secure, and happy. Use this sample schedule to guide your child's day. Customize this sample routine to keep your ADHD child on track all day long and all summer long.

Youth robotics organization whose mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

Summer Reading Bingo Printable (1st through 6th grades)
FREE printable Bingo game cards to encourage summer reading

For information on customizable reading tools: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

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