Summer is here and it is time for most parents to scramble to find ways to keep their kids from getting too bored. We do what we can to keep up their brains with homework, or summer camp, or VBA, or any number of activities that help them. Some parents find that the various summer activities are a bit too pricey, while others go over board keeping their kids active all summer long. Each family has different opinions on this subject. And none of them are wrong or right. Families have to do what is best for their families and their children.
However, for the ADHD child, things can get a bit difficult. It is advised by many psychiatrist that children go off of their medications in the summer months in order to give their bodies a break. Along with giving their bodies a break, they also have to give their minds a break. The way schools are set up is good for the majority of children, but it is exhausting for the ADHD child. To keep the mind in control for hours on end with limited breaks and not enough movement can take its toll on us mentally. So, summer needs to be a time to rest our minds.
Some kids spend their time playing a vast array of video games. For limited time, these games are very good for the ADHD child, just as they are for the non-ADHD child. It can help with fine motor skills and eye hand coordination. Some games also help with the imagination, allowing the child to set up their own towns and adventures. However, too much gaming can cause extreme mood swings and severe grumpiness.
Of course, there is outside playtime for kids. This is a wonderful time for imaginations to run wild and allow for a lot of physical activities, however, this becoming a rare event as most kids must attend summer camps because both kids work. This leaves the neighborhoods lacking in playmates for the kids who stay home. Not to mention, summer camps are a controlled environment which does little to help the brain of an ADHD child find release from constantly being forced to ‘be good’ in said control environment.
So, how can the child with ADHD relax their brains? My answer is a simple one, but it is not a popular one. Allow them to read the same book multiple times. Allow them to watch and re-watch the TV show of their choice. Limit the hours for the TV, naturally, but if they want to watch the same show for the hundredth time, let them do it. Don’t force them to read new books if they don’t want to (unless they are for the upcoming school year.) I know this sound odd, but hear me out.
Rereading and re-watching the same stories give our brains time to relax. It allows us time to have our brains fly. We don’t have to concentrate on anything, but have something to ground us to reality so we can find our way back home quickly, and without any mental pain. It seems odd to the person who lives life with a brain they can control, but to us, this is freedom. Listening to music is also helpful, however, I have found that having something visual allows better access to get into reality easier.
So, let your child read that book for the eight time. Let them Netflix binge the same TV show for the fifth time. It is our time to relax, and this is an easy way to do it. And don’t worry, we aren’t rotting our brains. We are relaxing in our ten thoughts per second. Letting our brains fly free without the constraints of having to think.
Mental Freedom is for summertime! This is why I love working in a school. I have the mental breaks along with the kids. Kit Cat and I are watching Stranger Things for the third time in anticipation of the new season. Paddy and I are binging the DC television universe which he’s watched countless times. Along with rereading Brandon Mull’s Fablehaven for the… um… I don’t remember how many times, but… best series ever!
I love summertime.