For most families the weekends and holidays are a time to relax, catch up with family and friends, attend community events and do the tasks that haven’t been done during the week. For the family with a young child with ADHD this can be a great time or a nightmare! We know your child will have issues with hyperactivity, impulsivity, attention to tasks, social and communication skills. During the weekends and holidays it is still very important to maintain a level of routine and structure so they can function and you avoid possible meltdowns.
Your child will give you the cues of how much structure and routine they need during these break times. Behaviour is communication. If your child is unaware of what is happening or excited about what is happening their behaviour will tell you. In both cases it may be best to continue with the routine of using a schedule to help them with the predictability of the event happening and the excitement of when it is happening.
The relaxing times of the weekends for parents and other family members won’t necessarily be relaxing times for your child with ADHD. This time is possibly going to need a level of structure as children cannot necessarily occupy themselves for a period of time without requiring someone’s attention or being able to engage in an activity safely.
These times are also family times. This is a great opportunity to remind yourself and your child that they are part of the family unit. Part of this unit means taking responsibility for things. For your young child this may simply mean packing their toys away and putting dirty clothes in the laundry basket. As your child develops, increase their level of responsibility so they understand that you have confidence in them and they will see that they are able to do things independently.
Holidays and weekends will take great planning on your behalf. The planning and organisation that you put into place will be of great benefit to your child and family. As your child develops you will learn more about them and some routines will become automatic and you can then put new ones into place to help them develop new skills. You are doing a great job in preparing your child for the future!