Although our nation was predicted to be short by more than 90,000 physicians by 2020, we have enough medical experts to warn us about the dangers of COVID-19. As a consequence of flattening the curve, schools, childcare centers, and summer camps were closed down until further notice -- leaving many parents to juggle the responsibilities of caring for and educating their children while attempting to work from home.
This situation is incredibly stressful for any family. But for parents who have children with ADHD, these circumstances can be even more challenging. While boys are almost twice as likely as girls to receive an ADHD diagnosis, gender has no bearing over the difficulties faced by both parent and child during this time. Whether you're currently trying to homeschool your child or you're wondering how you'll possibly keep them occupied all summer, here are some tips you may want to try.
Mimic Their Regular Environment and Structure
Most kids thrive on routine -- and that's definitely true for many children with ADHD. Your child will likely find it a lot easier to focus on the right things if you make sure the environment is familiar and conducive to learning. Of course, your child is familiar with your home. But because you don't typically use it for their classroom, it's natural that they might become distracted during this transition. Anything you can do to evoke the feelings of a classroom environment will probably help. Set up a smaller desk in a quiet area (like your home office) and make sure the space is easy for you to monitor. Eliminate as many distractions as possible and incorporate elements from your child's normal classroom.
That includes maintaining a sense of regular routine. While you definitely shouldn't micromanage your child's day, you should create a structure that they follow each day (with your help) to keep them on track. Break down their day into manageable chunks and assignments so they won't become overwhelmed by all they have to do.
Use the Backyard To Your Advantage
Although the U.S. holds 45% of the worldwide pharmaceutical market, not every parent wants to medicate their child (or go about managing their ADHD in the same ways). Regardless of how you feel about medication, a great way for children with ADHD to stay occupied and work off some excess energy is to spend as much time outside as possible.
It certainly helps if you have some kind of dedicated backyard space -- but don't expect it to stay pristinely manicured for long. Encourage your child to get lots of exercise and explore their imagination by adding some outdoor attractions (like a swing set, a trampoline, a blow-up pool, an obstacle course, or even a vegetable garden). Whatever keeps your child engaged works. You can even use this as an opportunity to get your child interested in nature, the life cycle, or science (all of which will help their growing mind).
Rely on Technology For Focus
It may sound counterintuitive, considering how many of us feel that familiar sense of distraction whenever we have our phones out and in plain sight, but you can actually use technology to keep your kiddo focused on the task at-hand. There are a variety of mobile apps and even timers or alarms you can use to help your child work through their lessons or keep them from getting distracted by their own devices. If your child needs to use a computer for their online lessons, make sure only one browser window can be accessed and that certain websites remain off-limits.
Before too long, school will be out for the year (and in some areas, it already is). But whether you want to promote summertime learning or you want to prepare for a second wave, these tips can help any parent -- and especially those who have children with ADHD.