Summer is in full force. School’s out, and parents and kids are full of excitement — and anxiety. Having a child who was diagnosed with ADHD at the ripe age of 3 means no stopping on a regular day. So for us, staying busy and finding ways to survive summer is essential. It helps keep us — parents and children — feeling sane. And who doesn’t want to feel like they’ve totally crushed the whole parenting-through-the-summer thing?
Now that my son is 5, we are accustomed to learning what works and what doesn’t. Last summer, we made a plan for how to keep him busy without feeling like we were ripping our hair out of our heads. Here are five sure ways to survive this summer with your ADHD child. We all know what the struggle consists of!
Take day trips
You don’t have to go on a full-on vacation to be able to enjoy summer. Last summer, we took a day trip every weekend. This is especially practical if you have no time during the week or the kids are in a summer program. And one perk of living in New England is that your day trip could even take you out of state! I’ve found that the more outdoor places we can visit, the better. The zoo is a great place to start — it’s outdoors, and you have lots of space to run around and get out that energy. The Highland Street Foundation offers so many great activities for fun free Fridays and even places you can receive a discount on.
Create a schedule
Whether you’re going on a day trip or sticking closer to home, create a schedule. Getting up early helps little ones to exert all their energy and get tired sooner. That means naptime — and a parenting win.
For as much as my son eats daily, he is the equivalent of a twig. It is known that people who suffer from ADHD often experience some type of eating disorder later in life — if not handled early.
Visit a fruit farm
Speaking of snacking, heading straight to the farm is the best! Whether it’s blueberries, peaches, or apples, the kids are eating healthy foods by snacking effectively on the fruits they are picking. Lookout Farm in Natick is the farm of all farms. They have trains to get to and from the different fields (apples, peaches, berries). They have various farm stands for refreshments and even a few parks. Plus, when you’re counting fruit, naming colors, and identifying shapes, it’s an educational day.
Create small activities
I’ve learned a lot from my son’s IEP paraprofessionals since he started pre-K when he turned 3. They have given me so many tips on how to help him excel. One of the ways we bring this learning home is by creating small activities that combine learning with sensory play. For example, my son likes to draw his name in shaving cream, or use chalk paint, or create a beach bin full of sand.
These five tips have helped us so much. Parenting a busy 5-year-old is no easy task, but this summer we will be busy and having tons of fun!