Summer Routines for You andYour ADD Child

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!

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