Every parent loves having the little ones home from school during school breaks, but it can be challenging to keep children engaged and happy when they're not in school for days at a time — especially if your child has ADHD or a learning disability. During school holidays, children have fewer opportunities to expend all of their energy, and they have fewer activities to keep them occupied and entertained. If you're planning to spend spring break with your kids this year, check out the helpful tips below to ensure that you have the most fun, stress-free holiday possible.
1. Plan daily activities in advance.
Go into spring break with a plan that includes daily activities. Rather than allow for spontaneity during breaks (which could lead to arguing between siblings), show your children the planned holiday schedule in advance: They'll know what to look forward to each day, and you'll be sure that there is something formal happening that will keep them engaged. Want to make sure you plan things your children will be happy doing? Sit down with them the week before the break and ask them how they'd like to spend it.
2. Spend time outdoors.
Researchers at the University of Illinois recently determined that playing outside in natural settings greatly reduces the symptoms of ADHD. If you're trying to fill up spring break days, consider activities that take you into the great outdoors. Go to the zoo, visit a local botanical garden or have a picnic in the park. If you're planning a family vacation, consider going somewhere green rather than an over-stimulating amusement park or big city.
3. Find soothing activities for downtime.
Downtime is important for any kid, but those with ADHD find it particularly hard to keep themselves entertained or, alternatively, to fall asleep when it's time to rest. Offer them soothing activities when everyone's taking a breather. Some good ideas include favorite board games or art projects that make use of washable paints or pipe cleaners.
4. Incorporate educational elements to keep kids on track.
Taking a week or two away from their studies can be hard for students with learning disabilities, so consider spending some time doing an activity related to the subjects they're learning in school. This will help keep their minds engaged with the topics they're supposed to remember. Find a relevant exhibit at a local museum to brush up on a history lesson, or watch a movie related to a favorite book. Your child — and his or her teacher! — will thank you when class is back in session.
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