August 26, 2021


by: admin


Tags: ADHD, fun, lessons, Quarantine, Summer, YearRound


Categories: adhd

Summer time Enjoyable Yr-Spherical: ADHD Classes from Quarantine

At dawn we got into the car. All of my six children – the same ones who usually can’t get up in the morning and who never find their shoes when the school bus pulls up – were unusually ready to go.

What caused this miracle? One word: motivation. We wanted to take a trip to the Dead Sea, a remarkable natural wonder that is easy to swim in in huge, salty water. My children, who really wanted to experience it, got up early, helped load the car, packed the picnic and promised not to argue in the car. Motivation does that with children.

We hiked and explored the next day. It was steaming hot and it was hard to convince everyone to leave the air-conditioned house and turn off the screens. But when we entered Mother Nature’s embrace, it was magical! My kids touched everything, climbed most things, found (and poked each other with them) porcupine needles, and researched which plants and trees were edible and which were poisonous.

After the hike, we took a guided tour of a local Druze community. I smiled as my kids touched it all again, asked all questions, walked in step with the fascinating tour guide and learned more about history and culture in one afternoon than they would normally do in a full school year.

In the days that followed, tension built up in the pit of my stomach. Summer will soon be over, I realized, and with it the joy my children experience for two solid months every year.

Perhaps I should call my brood “summer children” as they come to life during this time.

[Get This Free Download: 20 Secrets to a Smarter Summer]

The promise of summer

Summer kids love to learn. They love to experience with all their senses. Summer kids are creative, smart, strategic, energetic and incredibly happy when they get the space to shine. When motivation is high, they get up early and go to bed late so they can develop their unique skills.

Then the school year begins and all the magic fades away.

Summer children learn through experience, informal environments, exercise and space – elements that are often lacking in traditional classrooms. The kid who jumped out of bed to hike while on vacation can’t be dragged out of bed when their school alarm goes off. Why face another day where all of your weaknesses are emphasized and all of your strengths are ignored?

This is when life goes south for parents. We spend the school year literally pushing our children with ADHD up mountains, coaching, begging, scolding and punishing them.

It doesn’t have to be like that.

[Read: Vacations Are Supposed to Be Fun, Right?!?]

Lockdown life

Like most families, we never looked forward to the end of summer knowing what it means for our children.

But I learned something at the beginning of the pandemic that we will apply to the coming school year and beyond for our “summer children”.

When schools found “distance learning” (a euphemism for the gaping gap where no learning occurs) at the beginning of the lockdown, my husband and I allowed our children to get creative. We expected some traditional daily learning like math and reading. Otherwise our children could choose what they wanted to learn.

Without realizing it, we had brought our typical structure of summer fun to the middle of the school year.

One of our kids did a lot of science experiments and read every book in the house. Another built a car out of metal structures and scrap with his friends. Another turned the house into a gym and got really buffed, while another became an online yoga teacher. One learned to edit videos (a project the whole family was involved in when we made adorable short films for her). My little one became a professional sloppy maker.

We all did Cross Fit together every day, with me as a trainer. In addition to learning how to get on with each other (which was a project in itself), we’ve all also developed new skills and built trust in our particular specialty. There were a few slip-ups along the way (mostly I was about to lose my mind with the sheer amount of cooking and cleaning that this “program” required), but perfect is never our goal.

Lessons from the lockdown

While we must not forget the children who struggled (and continue to struggle) seriously during the pandemic, I believe there is much to be learned from those who succeeded during this strange time.

We found under lockdown that motivation and structure are essential for success. They are the keys to helping find the balance our summer children need all year round so that their amazing traits and abilities can come to the fore.

In addition to motivation and structure, the right environment for summer children must also include these components:

  • External Structure: Important for our children with ADHD as they have not yet developed the mechanism to do it on their own. We all got up at the same time each day and followed a morning routine that included chores.
  • Limited Screen Time: Our kids are attracted to these devices so we need to set clear boundaries so they don’t suck all day. During the lockdown, screen time was limited to just one family movie in the evening.
  • Exercise: Our children urgently need green time and lots of vitamin D. We were outside every day, even just jogging within 500 meters of our home – as far as our government once allowed.

Motivating summer children all year round

As a new school year approaches, use this model to inspire your child and put them in the right mindset about learning.

  • What does your child like to do? Are they building things? Colour? Make sport? To dance? Whatever the activity, make it a staple of your life throughout the school year – not just during the summer vacation.
  • Design your child’s morning with external motivation. Establish a routine in which expectations (such as brushing teeth, getting dressed, breakfast, etc.) are clearly stated and award points for each item completed. Discuss possible prizes for points and be consistent in paying out the prizes.
  • Use the weekends to go into nature or to do exciting activities. No shopping malls or stuffy indoor activities please! Summer children need nature to thrive!
  • Get screens at bay. Too much screen time can make for excited, picky kids. Reducing screen time will be a busy project for a couple of weeks, but your kids will soon understand and find other activities. (It can be very helpful to work out a list of social, creative, and active options with your child before setting new rules for how to zoom out.)

We wish all parents and their remarkable summer children a productive and enjoyable school year!

Summer fun: the next steps

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