Blog Post | How to Keep Your Kids Engaged and Growing Over Summer Break
How to Keep Your Kids Engaged and Growing Over Summer Break
With the school year soon coming to a close it’s time to start planning. As an ADHD mom, it can feel a little overwhelming trying to plan out the perfect summer to keep kids engaged. Why not take a little pressure off yourself and let the kids help you brainstorm? The more they weigh in on the options, the easier it goes.
Consider Your Options
First, as the parent(s), think about your own goals and hopes for your children over the summer.
What are the big categories for planning? It might feel like a long list because summer opens the door for so many things that are tough to make time for during the school year. Here is a short list of things you might want to consider:
- Vacations and short getaways — The sooner you plan on them the likelier they will happen.
- Special events — Such as birthdays, weddings, and community gatherings.
- Summer fun and leisure — There should always be time to slow the summer days down and chill.
- New hobbies and adventures — Do you need to make time to cultivate special interests?
- Scheduled activities and lessons — These are things you may already know need to be included, like sports, music, summer camps, and volunteering.
- Life skills — Encouraging your children to take on a little more responsibility or build on social skills. Examples might be learning how to do their laundry, cleaning and organizing their room, walking the family pet, babysitting, or even practicing how to stay calm or new social skills.
- Learning boost — Is there a subject area that was tough for them this past year? Could they get some help over the summer to catch up and be ready for the next year?
- Time to connect — One of the greatest gifts we can give each other is our time and attention. Are there opportunities for scheduled one-on-one time? Do you have a way to build curiosity and conversation into your routines?
- Self-care basics — Working on new habits like sleep, meditation, journaling, and scheduling medical and dental appointments — doesn’t necessarily sound fun but needs to get done.
What are your important categories? Every family is a little different and will likely have some categories that make more sense. Decide on your own categories.
Brainstorming and Conversation
The next step is to round up your loved ones to brainstorm the options. Share what you thought of for categories. Ask them for their thoughts on categories. Then engage your kids and family in a conversation to come up with ideas for each. You might find it helpful to have a brainstorming party at your next family meeting or choose to talk it out one on one. You can use this worksheet for each child if you like. Introduce the category and give them time to write out everything they think of. Compare it with your notes as you can. The objective is to make conclusions that provide you with some next steps for taking action.
Make It Happen
Prioritize the wish list. You can’t do it all. Explore the resources and opportunities. Schedule and sign up for the best options for your family. Get out the kitchen calendar and post everything you have committed.
Keep these plans front of mind. Set up a routine time to keep track of what’s coming up on the calendar. You might decide to review what is coming up for the week ahead in a routine family huddle. Don’t forget to add the bells and whistles which are the prompts, structure, and incentives to make it happen. Remember that children with ADHD will need verbal and visual cues to remember, and they respond better to the less-fun stuff with built-in positive reinforcements and privileges. One of my favorite resources is The Five Love Languages of Teenagers by Gary Chapman.
If you are looking for opportunities for your children to work on skills for school, consider our teens/tweens workshops coming in August.
Robin Nordmeyer, PCAC, CLC
ADHD Coach | Center For Living Well with ADHD, LLC