How to Make a Summer Schedule for Your Child with ADHD
A smooth summer starts with making sure everyone is on the same page with expectations, schedules and rewards. Learn what works best for your child by considering these items.
UNDERSTAND ENERGY LEVELS
When creating a schedule, it’s important to know when children have the most energy to do non-preferred activities. Oftentimes it’s in the morning, but not all the time. Keeping in mind, what needs to be done, the level of difficulty and keeping the difficulty levels dispersed throughout the day are helpful.
Allow for choices in chores and activities. If there are specific chores that you would want your child to complete, then you would offer two options you prefer with rewards and activities they like. These rewards should only be offered when you can follow through for the day.
KNOW THEIR LIMITS
It is important to figure out a baseline for the amount of time the child is able to work on a chore or different activity. Prior to even establishing a chore or activity list, use a stopwatch to determine the length of time they were able to sustain certain activities. When having your child complete chores, have them work on the chore for a little bit less than the amount of time they demonstrated their attention for the baseline.
Rather than working on activity completion, focus on the time put towards the task. Break down the task into small steps. That may also be equal to the amount of time they might spend on it. If the task needs to be completed and not stopped in the middle, you can stop them after they complete that step if the timer has gone off.
Externalize the lists, and if your kid enjoys hands-on activities, have them participate in the list making. If the child is younger, incorporate pictures or drawings to have them understand what they need to do. Sometimes incorporate pictures or examples to demonstrate what the finished product would look like.
STRUCTURE YOUR DAY
If structure is difficult, determine what is necessary for each day. If you have not structured downtime or activities during the summer previously, it’s perfectly OK to start with one or two structured activities and do that consistently throughout the week prior to adding more.
You always want the child to have success with implementation of chores and activities. The best activities are ones that are approachable without being overwhelming. They are defined by specific steps, one’s in which the children enjoy, and have a time limit, meaning, they must be completed by a certain time in order to have access to a reward. If the child does not complete the activity in the specified amount of time, then they do not have access to the reward. Using a structure that allows for success, so that they will be able to get the reward.