Govt Functioning Abilities: Actions for Summer season
As parents of children with ADHD, you are always looking for ways to strengthen their executive skills – the mental faculties that enable us to plan, organize, remember, and self-regulate.
School is a safe place for these skills to come into play, but it’s not the only place to practice and improve them. Everyday life – even during the summer holidays – offers some of the best opportunities to practice planning, organization and inhibition skills.
Summer activities to build leadership skills
1. Organize a sports tournament
Summer offers plenty of nice weather for basketball, tennis, soccer and basketball tournaments. Organizing a friendly sports competition is a great way to practice all components of executive skills.
To successfully complete the tournament, your child must take time each day to work on this task (and practice inhibiting or not participating in other desired activities such as watching TV or scrolling on the phone).
Working memory comes into play when setting up the various teams / races and merging the tournament logistics (where the tournament takes place, how the players are invited, which awards the winners receive) And when unexpected changes arise (e.g. a player can’t participate, so who can step in?) This is a great opportunity to practice cognitive flexibility and shifting.
[Get This Download: 20 Secrets to a Smarter Summer]
As an added bonus, sports and physical activity have been combined with improved executive skills!
2. Plan an excursion on Fridays
Summer offers many opportunities for excursions in the area to swimming pools, nature reserves, museums, amusement parks and more.
Instead of doing the planning yourself, why not let your child plan an excursion? Ask your children to come up with a “suggestion” for the excursions they want, including the reasons for the excursion, the distance to the location, a transport plan, and the costs and materials required for the day.
You will use inhibitions, planning, organization, and prioritization as you practice narrowing down the options to propose an excursion.
[Read: A Summer Well Spent: How to Orchestrate Fun & Learning]
They’ll also strengthen working memory and cognitive flexibility as they look at transportation options and ticket prices (maybe entry was more expensive than expected). As an added bonus, they get some practical math exercises that add up the travel expenses.
3. Plant a garden
Let yourself be inspired by regular summer evening walks in your home garden.
Set gardening goals with your child (a good working memory exercise). Do you cook with herbs from your garden? Would you like to create the most beautiful flower garden?
Take a look at your available space. Will your garden be indoors? Do you have a place on the balcony for potted plants? Or a piece of lawn outdoors? Cognitive flexibility and change skills may be required if your space (and exposure to sunlight) does not match your original gardening goals.
Together, you can explore plants that will thrive in the climate and sunlight available to you. Regular watering and maintenance will help the garden grow and thrive – good motivators to practice the associated inhibition and working memory skills.
Search garden communities on social media for opportunities to meet up with neighbors and socialize who share a common passion.
4. Do one thing at a time
During the busy school year, life can feel like a constant rush. Summer is a great time for your child to slow down, unplug, and practice focusing on one thing.
Especially when learning online, your child can be tempted to have several devices open at the same time and to constantly look at their cell phone. This summer, build inhibition skills by practicing blocking out everything else and focusing on one thing at a time.
Help your child develop a long-term project for the summer. As they work on the project, they can practice staying away from their phone, computer, and other distractions. Remember to start small with focus goals and build from there!
Executive Functioning Skills Activities: Next Steps
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Updated July 12, 2021