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Juggling work and parenting: How to have a successful summer with ADHD

The school summer holiday can be a rollercoaster of rewards and challenges for parents of ADHD children. Especially if you’re juggling work on top of parenting!
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Juggling work and parenting: How to have a successful summer with ADHD

28/07/2023
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The school summer holiday can be a rollercoaster of rewards and challenges for parents of ADHD children. Especially if you’re juggling work on top of parenting! 

But fear not – with some clever planning and the right support, you can master the art of balancing both worlds. 

We’ve put together some strategies to help you navigate your time and some fantastic ideas for activities to keep your children occupied this summer. 

Your summer holiday strategy plan 

Having a strategy before the summer holiday begins can ease the burden. Use our tips to help survive this summer with ease.

Stick to a daily routine

Structure and predictability are crucial for children with ADHD. Create a daily schedule that includes set times for waking up, meals, activities, and bedtime. Consistency will provide a sense of stability and make transitions easier for your child. Especially when they return to school in September. 

Plan activities 

If you’re juggling work and childcare during the summer holiday, plan activities that your child can do independently during your work hours. 

Keep your child’s interests and strengths in mind while planning these activities. Engaging in activities they enjoy can help improve their focus and attention. Outdoor activities such as sports, nature walks, or swimming are great. Local Facebook groups are a great place to look for local activities.

Break tasks down 

When you introduce new activities, break them down into smaller, manageable steps. Don’t overwhelm your child with a packed timetable of events. This approach will make tasks less overwhelming and improve your child’s chances of success. If possible, find ways to integrate work and play. For example, if you work from home, set up a workspace in the same room as your child, so you can supervise them while they engage in activities nearby. 

Use visual aids and timers 

Visual aids, such as charts and checklists, can help your child understand expectations and track their progress. Timers can be useful for setting time limits for activities, helping your child manage their time better.

Get moving

Regular physical exercise can help reduce hyperactivity and restlessness in children with ADHD. The benefits of regular exercise are endless and it can also improve mood and well-being. Try to encourage some movement in your daily routine.

Limit screen time 

While some screen time can be enjoyable and even educational, excessive screen time can worsen ADHD symptoms. Set reasonable limits and encourage other activities. If you are using screens, try some of the educational apps and programs. These can keep your child engaged and learning during your work hours. ADD APP BLOG FOR CHILDREN 

Holiday clubs 

Look for summer holiday clubs designed for children with ADHD. These often provide structure and understanding that can be good for your child. Keep an eye on online community posts. There are plenty of clubs running over the holidays and some providers offer subsidies too. 

Mindfulness 

Teach your child relaxation techniques like deep breathing or guided imagery to help manage stress and anxiety. Practicing mindfulness can also improve focus and self-regulation. This is also important for you too. We run a fantastic mindfulness course, check it out HERE 

Connect with others 

Reach out to local or online support groups for parents of children with ADHD. Sharing experiences and tips with others who understand can be helpful and reassuring. ADHD UK has a list of support groups or try the UK ADHD Partnership

Take care of yourself 

Caring for a child with ADHD can be demanding, so remember to prioritise your self-care too. Make time for activities you enjoy, find support from family and friends, and consider professional help if you feel you need it.

Speak to your child’s teacher

If your child is attending school after the summer holiday, communicate with their teachers. Discuss strategies that have worked well during the holidays. Liaising with the school can ensure a smoother transition back in September.

A successful summer awaits 

The key is to provide a mix of physical activities, creative outlets, and educational experiences. Make sure they fit with your child’s interests and your timescale. 

Try involving your child in the planning process, allowing them to choose activities they are excited about. 

It will also take the pressure off you as you won’t have to think of daily activities. There are lots of free downloadable planners online that you can print off. 

Keep in mind that children with ADHD may have varying attention spans. It’s important to be flexible and adapt the activities as needed to ensure a positive and enjoyable experience for both of you. 

Understand that not every day will go as planned, and that’s okay. Be flexible and adaptable when things don’t go according to plan.

It’s essential to find a balance that works for both your job and your child’s needs. Be patient with yourself and your child, and don’t hesitate to seek support from friends, family, or professionals if needed. 

Your activity checklist

Keeping ADHD children busy during the summer holiday is time-consuming.  We’re here to help and have created a list of ideas to help keep you and your child engaged, focused, and having fun all summer:

 Outdoor sports and games 

Organise or take part in sports activities like football, tennis, biking, or tag games. Lots of holiday clubs offer this type of activity. The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) organises national tennis camps for all ages. Powerleague runs national football camps for children aged five to 14 and British Cycling has events for children and young people.

Get outside

Explore local parks, nature trails, or nature reserves. Being in nature can have a calming effect and promote sensory experiences that benefit children with ADHD. The National Trust has many events running over the summer or some national parks are free to enter. English Heritage is another place to try.

Arts and crafts 

Try some new creative projects such as drawing, painting, crafting, or building models. These activities encourage focus and self-expression. Local libraries often have craft events running over the summer. 

Music and dance 

Encourage your child to learn a musical instrument or join a dance class. Music and movement can be therapeutic and help improve attention. There are lots of different dance classes from ballet to hip hop, jazz to street dance. There is something for everyone. The Royal Academy of Dance has links to local dance classes.

Bake off 

Involve your child in age-appropriate cooking or baking activities. Following recipes and measuring ingredients can be educational and enjoyable. BBC Good Food has some great recipe ideas to try with children. 

Science experiments 

Try some simple science experiments at home. There are many easy and safe experiments available online that can spark curiosity and learning. The Science Museum in London and Manchester are free to enter if you can make it to one of them. 

Green fingers 

Create a small garden or take care of potted plants. Gardening can teach responsibility and provide a calming and rewarding experience. Plant some potted herbs in the kitchen and give your child the responsibility of looking after them. Gardener’s World has some great ideas to try with children.

Board games 

Play board games or solve puzzles together. These activities promote problem-solving skills and cooperation. Charity shops often have board games for sale at discounted prices. 

Day out 

Explore local libraries and museums that offer interactive exhibits and educational programs. Many are free to enter during the summer holiday and can provide hours of fun. Read about the top 10 free museums in the UK HERE

Take to the water

Swimming is a great way for children with ADHD to burn off energy and have fun. Local pools often run holiday sessions with inflatables which can be great fun. Find a swimming pool near you HERE

Animal interaction 

If you have a pet or can visit an animal shelter, spending time with animals can have a calming and therapeutic effect. Petting farms often allow children to hold the animals or feed them. Find a list of adventure farm parks for children HERE

Acting up 

Encourage your child to create and act out stories. This can enhance creativity and communication skills. Put on a theatre show at home or visit a local theatre. 

Indoor fun 

Set up a fun and safe indoor obstacle course using pillows, furniture, and other household items. A great activity to spend a couple of hours for free. Try these 20 activities to do in the home HERE

Get wet 

If it’s sunny, set up a water play area in your garden with a paddling pool, water gun, or water balloons. Even a garden sprinkler can provide hours of fun in warmer weather.

ADHD Support at The ADHD Centre 

If you are looking after children with ADHD over the summer holiday, support is available. 

We specialise in supporting people living with ADHD and their loved ones. Our team of experienced clinicians is on hand to provide expert insight. 

We can offer advice, support, and guidance on ADHD and how to best manage and embrace some of the challenges.

For more information on how we can help you: 

Call 0800 061 4276

Email enquiries@adhdcentre.co.uk 

Follow us on social media. You can find us on Facebook or Instagram 

Book an ADHD assessment for an adult or a child HERE

Join one of our courses: 

Parenting 

Mindfulness

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