When you think of Spring Break with your kids, what is the vision that you see? Is your mind filled with pleasant views of activities that your family enjoys? Or do you see complete chaos? Itís not too early to begin planning to avoid the chaos and increase the satisfaction from your time together. It just takes a bit of structure!
Planning activities for your whole family is a good way to structure Spring Break Sit down as a family and find out what each person wants. Are you going out of town or having a stacation? Which activities are enjoyed by all? Do you have traditions that you want to continue? Is there a new tradition that you would like to start? How much money do you want to spend? The internet can be your friend for planning. Some sites are dedicated to stacation destinations in your area. There are coupons and deals available online. (Just be cautious; if itís too good to be true, the deal might be a scam.) If you belong to AAA, you might call them for suggestions. Your state and local departments of parks can be helpful, too. They have low-cost activities.
Make a planner with your daily activities. It can be as simple as a planning table made on your computer's word processing program. Be sure to schedule in some quiet time and times for friends and family.
Kids with ADD who are out of school need more daily structure at home. You might want to shift the morning rising time, so that everybody may sleep in a bit. Sleeping until noon every day and vegging out around the house is not a good idea. This makes it hard when itís time to go back to school. Keep a routine. Plan the days with your child to make a schedule that includes times for outings, friends, physical activity, and special events.
Keep a somewhat normal meal schedule. Meals on Spring Break need to have a little flexibility. Make it about the same time that they eat during the school week. Let them invite friends over to make lunch or dinner a special occasion. Enjoy cooking meals together, so that the family gets to eat foods that are normally too much trouble to prepare.
One of our favorite meals during Spring Break was the fireplace cookout. We cooked hot dogs on sticks and hamburgers in a griller basket in our wood burning fireplace. Veggies and chips with dip were served. There was a special dessert. Best of all, we invited friends to share our cozy meal.
Make sure that they get some physical activities each day. Free activities include going to the park, skateboarding in the neighborhood, taking a bicycle tour of an historic district in your city and preparing a garden. Some things, like potatoes and spinach, can be planted early. If you can get some pre-chilled bulbs, they can also be planted.
Some activities are nearly free! These include going to an art gallery, museum or zoo. Visit a skate park and watch the adventurous kids! Find a nature preserve or public lake near your home and go walking to observe nature. Be sure to take binoculars and a camera. If your family enjoys drawing, donít forget the sketch pads! There are also ice rinks that make exercise fun.
Let them practice a hobby or activity that they enjoy. Many of our children have activities that they love, but there is seldom time to indulge this passion while school is in session. Spring Break is a time to let them more fully explore their interests. Make sure that they have supplies to practice their hobbies.
Continue to practice good sleep hygiene. Keep the television, video games, and computers out of the bedroom. Yes, you can count on it, the kids will complain bitterly! Make the bedroom a room for sleeping. Have them prepare for bed by flossing and brushing their teeth. Let their mind and body know that it is time for bed. Make sure that the room is restful. This means that the bed, pillows, and covers are comfortable. Adjust the room temperature. Open a window for a bit of fresh air. They need to wear comfy night clothes. If their body is sticky from the dayís activities, then they should have a warm shower or bath. Sometimes a bedtime snack helps, but be sure to have your child brush his teeth afterwards. Watch the calories on these snacks.
Decide what you are going to do about medication; consider your childís wishes. Especially if your child is older, you might ask for his input about a med holiday. If your child takes medication, you will need to decide whether they will continue with the medication or have a med holiday. Continuing with medication makes a lot of sense for some children. Medication allows them to be more in control of their behaviors. It helps them stay out of trouble. Make sure that they get their medication on schedule.
If your child is taking a med holiday, know that their behavior will be different. Build even more behavioral supports into your routine. Understand that if their brain doesnít have the chemicals that it usually has via the medication, that they will not have as much control over their behavior. Donít schedule a lot of stressful activities. Have a backup plan in case the first plan does not work out. Make sure that they have a safe place to go if they start feeling out of control. Support them, and work hard at staying positive. Both the adults and children may feel extra stress when the routine schedule of medication is stopped. Also, re-start the medication a few days before Spring Break is over. This gives your child a chance to readjust to the medication. As always, consult your physician. These comments about medication are for informational purposes and are not given by a medical professional.
Spring Break can be a lovely time for your family to come together over activities that you find satisfying. There should be flexibility. However, when you have kids (and sometimes adults) with ADD, you need to make sure that you build the structure in. Everybody thrives when there is more fun and less chaos. Planning and structure are the keys to a great Spring Break.