Setting an ADHD Summer Routine

Hello Summer, it is SOOOO lovely to see you.  Happy End of School, everyone – you made it through!  I hope you all finished strong!

As a parent, the month of May has slowly become the one month that I equally like/dislike.  All the end of school parties, gifts for teachers (most deserving of our time, effort and money  ever!), class events, trips, concerts, friends getting tired of friends, trying to keep your kids on track and finish strong and respectable, end of year grades, exams, projects, etc.  it all builds up to a rather large to do list that continues to build! Coupled with longer days when the weather is so tempting and everyone wants to be off schedule, stay up late and blow off all educational responsibilities!  Yes, I said it… by this time of the year, if it’s not getting through, it’s probably not going too!

Who else let’s stuff slide academic wise with their children?  (my hand is raised high!) It’s OK!

It’s been a long year – the end is in sight and May is tough, people!  It’s slowly become worse (don’t hate me when I say this because you all know what I mean) than December!

So, with much abated breathe, I am always, always happy for the lovely month of May for its weather (ok, the golf tournaments, the NHL Finals – GO CANES – are the real reasons), the stunning greenery and sunshine (wait, I live in NC and it’s normally sunny here anyways, but you know what I mean!), and the end of a structured school year.  Hallelujah, another year in the books – you did it! BREATHE. BYE BYE May.

Hello June.  Now what? What’s your plan?  Remember that schedule you (and I) so desperately wanted to come to a screeching halt?  Well, that schedule and structure are critical for ADHD’ers to thrive. A break of schedule/routine can be equally healthy and disastrous.  Healthy meaning it is good to come down off an intense year of school and give your brain a bit of a break and recharge. Disastrous meaning no plans, no structure allows too much free will and this amounts to time sucks of activities, and unaccountability.  

ADHD’ers need predictability so they can manage the emotional impulses of ADHD.  Having a routine in place will allow them to succeed with chores, morning and bedtime routines, and overall planning of the day – basically tapping into their executive functioning.  When this is not used or activated, it sets up for meltdowns, impulse control issues, transition challenges, etc.

ADHD’ers need help with self-control – this is a huge challenge for them!  

This is why Summer is lovely to have a break from academics, but your child still needs structure.

How will you create this with them?  Notice I said WITH them? Include them in their summer schedule! 

Tips for a Successful ADHD Summer

  • Ask them what they’d like to work on over the summer.  It’s a great time to brush up on any skills needing to be fine-tuned.  Maybe they need a tutor in Math or English or maybe working with an ADHD Coach (I know someone – hmm!) would help build their confidence before going back to school).

  • Set a weekly schedule so they have a week at a glance.

  • Set a daily “flexible” schedule, so they have an idea of what all will be happening that day and what all is expected of them

  • Decide on a chores list each day.  Find out how they want it: where does it need to be posted – on a post-it, texted to them?  And decide together when the chores need to be done each day.

  • Designate how many hours they are allowed on electronics per day.

  • Do they have all the tools they need to succeed in managing their time?

  • Athletic work-outs? Practices, etc?

  • Think about service/volunteer/camps/church group outings.  Summer is a great time to spend giving your time and resources to others

  • How often do they want to see their friends?  Have them plan this.

  • If you are going on a summer vacation, have them plan what they’d like to do there and what they want to explore.

  • Always leave a block of time for “free time” on the calendar each day.

Having a summer “routine” will provide the best of both worlds for your child: a flexible schedule with expectations for them to meet.  This will allow them to be successful in their time management, and accountability and will help them maintain structure each day during the long dog days of summer.  

With Much GrADDitude, (and a lovely first month of Summer),