So the summer is here. And as the school day, sports, music lessons, and homework disappear, so does the perceived need for structure and bedtime. Despite any rebelling your child might exhibit regarding an attempt to instill summer structure, he needs this structure as well as you, the parent.
What can this summer structure contain? In addition to much needed free time and fun, it’s important to carve out periods in each day of reading. Certainly giving some choices of what to read enhances our kid’s ability to latch on to this idea. Reading articles on areas of interest can be a substitute to reading a novel. Some type of chore schedule reinforces the child’s position as an important and contributing member of the family.
Elements of structure can help with time management and transitions. All of those comprise executive functioning tasks that are important to reinforce.
It’s important to continue using time management skills. The ability to estimate how long a task will take is a crucial skill in school. Beginning to understand yourself and your perception of time can help a child to gauge job completion. A perception of something taking thirty minutes might need to be multiplied by three in reality.
Transitioning occurs in school when a child is expected to change classes and switch teachers with all the changes in expectations of the new class that comes with that change. So many times, during that period of time that a child is taking out notebooks and mentally preparing as class is beginning, he misses announcements like homework because of the stress of transition. Structure during the summer again allows for transitioning from one type of activity to another. It is different than the academic setting…but still hones in on the skill.
Finally, we know that our kids with ADHD do best when surrounded by structure. With summer structure in place, they can feel good about accomplishments. Remember, it is important to positively praise for a job well done! Setting up a token system for goals achieved can allow for choices in incentives. This is just another way to praise and reinforce. In addition, this healthy self-esteem will follow them into the school year, having practiced some executive functioning skills, maintained some academic skills, and demonstrated to themselves that they make a difference!