If your family is like many others, you have already spent a lot of time at home! Parents may have been working from home and children have been in school or at home intermittently. You may be tired of all this family togetherness! Now there are weeks ahead for your children without the structure imposed by school. Days at home can quickly become problematic!
The place to begin? A daily routine for you, your children and/or the sitter. It doesn’t have to be complicated to be successful. A routine can be as simple as everyone has breakfast, is dressed by 9 a.m., and Saturday is a sleep-in day, can be just enough to help children maintain consistency.
Another approach might look something like this: At 9 a.m. each child has a family chore -- empty the dishwasher, put dirty dishes in the dishwasher, wipe off the table, put breakfast items away. Then a personal chore such as their hygiene routine (teeth, face, comb hair), making their bed, putting dirty clothes in the hamper. Some type of organizing system, such as a dry erase board, can be a helpful tool to keep everyone on track.
After chores, the rest of the day could be a variety of activities: summer reading, time outside, playing with a friend in the neighborhood, a volunteer activity, tutoring, or yard work. While each day has a routine, the specific activities may vary from day to day. Your local community recreation center may have scheduled programs for children. The local library usually has a summer reading program or an arts program. Each day of the week could have a specific activity such as a family bike ride on Tuesdays at 7 p.m.
It can be a battle to separate a child from their technology. Social media and video games are highly attractive. Once children begin a video game, it will be difficult to transition to outdoor activities or academics. Save devices for set times during the day with a specific time limit. Some parents require a certain amount of reading, time outdoors, time with a friend or the completion of chores before permitting access to a device.
If your family typically does not eat meals together, summer would be a good time to have at least one meal per day as a family. This practice can increase a sense of connectedness and develop communication skills. Stanford Children’s Health reports that eating as a family can contribute to a healthier weight for everyone.
In the summertime the rate of accidents involving children greatly increases. This is especially true for students with ADHD. Require the wearing of helmets when skateboarding, biking or scooter riding. Any potentially dangerous tools or firearms should be secured. If you own a weapon, believe me, your child knows where it is, even if you think they don’t! The number of kids in the ER due to burns goes up in the summer months too. Keep the gas can locked up! If you have fireworks at home, make sure they are locked away. Carefully check through your garage or storage area for anything that is potentially hazardous that may have been forgotten. A few extra minutes of diligence is a low price to pay for your peace of mind!
Blogger Mary Ann Mulcahey, PhD, shares her expertise in assessment and diagnosis of learning disabilities and ADHD, and the social/emotional adjustment to those issues. If you have questions, please contact Mary Ann at