The Covid-19 summer is getting most of us down, at least some of the time. We can’t do our regular outings, gatherings with friends and family, and summer travel like we’re used to doing. For kids on summer break, just hanging out at home quickly turns into boredom. For children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), boredom sets in even more quickly.
Finding summer activities for kids with ADHD provides a wealth of benefits for your family. Maintaining a degree of routine over the summer helps keep children feeling secure and reduces negative behaviors. It also helps to smooth the transitions out of and back into the school year. Your ADHD summer routine gives your child the freedom to explore their interests more deeply, build skills, and avoid the dreaded boredom that causes disruptions to the whole family.
Create an ADHD Summer Routine
The perfect ADHD summer routine is flexible enough to allow for unplanned playtime and exploration – and any unplanned obstacles along the way. Start with a consistent bedtime, even if it’s a little later than usual. A child’s bedtime is important for sufficient rest and energy, as well as for managing emotions and self-control throughout the day.
You don’t need to schedule every minute of the day, but planning a rough outline of the progression activities lends some structure and stability to the day. Just like with distance learning during the school year, work in a balance between screen time inside and outdoor play. When building a summer routine for kids, remember to include educational activities to prevent the summer slide. These can include educational games, independent reading time, and hands-on projects, too.
Create a List of Summer Activities
With fewer options available this summer, it can help to focus on what you CAN do! Start by sitting down with your children and working together to create a list of summer activities available from home and in your community. Be sure to note activities that your child can do without your help or supervision. This can even be a joint art project where you decorate the list, hang it on the refrigerator, and keep track of the activities you’ve completed.
When planning your schedule for the day or week, use your summer activities list as a guide. It can also serve as inspiration for what to do when you get the inevitable complaints of boredom! Keeping track of what activities you and your child complete during the summer can serve as a great reminder of summer fun even after vacation has come to an end.
You and your child can also create a chore list for summer to keep them occupied and help them practice responsibility. Your summer chore chart can include rewards for tasks accomplished, such as a special snack or getting to choose a movie for the family to watch together.
Summer learning takes place in many forms. Your child doesn’t need to crack open a textbook to have educational experiences during the summer. Projects you can do as a family such as planting a garden or cooking and meal prepping can teach kids about ecology and nutrition.
Reading books of personal interest, watching TEDTalks, and learning new skills through online learning are all accessible ways to keep your child engaged in fun learning activities during the summer. Reading a chapter book together or watching educational movies are ways you can spend quality time together while learning. Prevent summer learning loss (and boredom!) by encouraging your child to delve deeper into topics they enjoy and/or pursue new hobbies.
La Jolla LearningWorks offers individualized one-to-one tutoring with customized summer programs to address each student’s specific needs. With just a few hours of instruction a week, your child gets personal attention and real-time feedback that leads to real progress and a fun learning experience.
Pick Up a New Hobby
Your child’s hobbies during the school year probably include an organized element such as sports or clubs that may not be available to them in the summer or with Covid-19 restrictions. Help your child find a new hobby you can do together! Hiking, bike riding, and gardening are a few ideas that will get you outside in the sunshine and moving around while safely social distancing.
If your child is older, they may want to consider a hobby that they can include on a college application or in an admissions essay, such as learning a new language or volunteering. They can also take advantage of homework-free summer time to explore career interests or take courses for credit to build their GPAs or get ahead on graduation requirements.
Put Together a Summer Reading List
If your child didn’t get a summer reading list from their school, come up with one together. Visit your local library (or browse online) to find books about the topics your child is interested in. If you need a jumping-off point, summer reading lists for elementary students that include a blend of the classics and modern selections can be found online separated by topic and/or grade level, like these from Read Across America.
If your child is resistant to reading on their own, start a book club with a group of their friends. La Jolla LearningWorks can help with experienced teacher-led book clubs – with a group of your choosing! All you have to do is reach out to our team to get started.
Don’t forget, audiobooks count, too! Especially if you’re planning a getaway that involves long travel times, audiobooks can be a great way to pass the time, and/or enjoy a book together as a family.
Stay Active With Sports
Summer sports programs for children are an effective way to stave off boredom while practicing collaboration, sportsmanship, and leadership. For some kids with ADHD, the right athletic activity can really help with managing focus and behavior throughout the day – and yet, team sports can be a challenge for kids who struggle with attention and impulse control. Look into more individual activities, like martial arts, dance, running, and swimming.
Given the current situation with the pandemic, if you are considering sports activities, social distancing should also be a consideration. Discuss the precautions that your local kids’ sports programs are taking to keep participants and their families safe. Sports in wide open areas, such as frisbee golf, and non-team sports such as surfing, will keep your child active and safe. Be sure to follow your local guidelines when coming up with social distancing sports ideas.
Consider ADHD Summer Camps
ADHD summer camps are perfect for summer socialization. At summer camps for children with ADHD and other learning disabilities, kids can interact with their peers who have similar experiences and have the opportunity to make lifelong friends.
This year, summer camp social distancing is a consideration, and many summer camps have gone virtual. Day camps provide structure, consistency, social interaction, and educational experiences for kids of all ages with ADHD. You can also find ADHD summer camps with a particular focus, such as nature or theater.
Don’t Forget About Playtime
How much playtime does a child need? How much playtime does an adult need? You don’t need to set a timer, but you do need to make time to play together. During the school year, kids and playtime are scarce, especially as your kids get older and have more homework and maybe even a part-time job. Cherish the time you have during the summer months to learn and explore together.
Pandemic playtime may look different, and it may take place primarily in your own home, but that doesn’t diminish the power of playtime. Play is the first way that we learn, and it remains critical for mental and emotional health as we grow.
At La Jolla LearningWorks, we understand the importance of balancing academic work with fun and creativity. Our passionate and caring educators make learning an enjoyable experience so your kids can beat boredom and avoid summer slide at the same time. You can check out our virtual summer program for personalized support to keep your child with ADHD happy this summer.