Children and teens that have ADHD need structure and a lot of physical activities in order to help them keep the symptoms of ADHD in check. Here are a few suggested outdoor activities for children/teens with ADHD:
- Start a rock collection – Encouraging your child to start a collection can help him/her focus his/her attention. Going out to look for rocks and researching about the different kinds of rock is a great combination of physical and mental activity. You can encourage your child to try out other kinds of collections that will take them outdoors to look for pieces to collect.
- Go on a sensory walk – Take your child to a park or a hiking trail and go on a “sensory walk”. Touch the barks of trees, the leaves, rocks, and grass as you go. Just touching the leaves will show you the different kinds of textures on them. This sort of sensory trips will help your child focus on one aspect of their senses. Plus, the walking and physical activity will be very good for them.
- Bike ride – Take your child to a safe place where he/she can ride a bike in peace. You can even put a twist on it and do a scavenger hunt while bike riding, making it more enjoyable for both of you.
Studies show that for children with ADHD, a 20-minute walk to the park can greatly improve their concentration. It’s especially interesting that walking through a nature setting such as forests, parks, mountains, hiking trails and the likes can yield better results than walking through a more urban setting. This is why parents of ADHD/ADD children and teens often opt to send their children to therapeutic boarding school where they will be able to enjoy nature while learning. During summer breaks, they can also enjoy specialized summer camps. Surrounding children and teens with a lot of greenery while they perform physical activities help control the symptoms of ADD/ADHD.
While indoors or at home, certain things will also be helpful to keep your child’s symptoms at bay. Here are a few suggestions:
- Set an organized schedule at home – Consistency is part of what will help your child’s development. Let your child participate in creating a schedule. Sit down and ask your child what activities he/she wants to include. Encouraging some participation in creating a schedule will also make sure that your child will be more willing to adhere to the schedule that he/she helped make.
- Help your child with school work – Whenever possible, sit down with your child and go over school work together. Pick a spot at home where you will be able to study without being disturbed. It should be a quiet spot away from distractions. Even just the smallest sounds or clutter can take your child’s attention away from school work. Keep the space neat and clean in order to help your child’s concentration better.
- Try massage therapy – Massage therapy is a relaxation technique that can help calm down your child. Studies show that children who are given a calming massage by their parents especially during school days are usually calmer, more focused, and less disruptive in school.
- Create an organized storage area – ADD/ADHD children and teens often find it a challenge to organize their things. It would be best to create storage spaces and label them together with your child so that it will be easier for him/her to use it. Encourage your child to help create the storage spaces and label them with you. Encouraging participation especially in things and routines that they will be involved in is a great way to keep children and teens with ADHD/ADD productively occupied and focused.
- Reward positive behavior – Put more emphasis on telling your child what you like rather than what you don’t like about what he/she does. Constructive criticism should not be totally ruled out, but children and teens with ADD/ADHD respond better to being informed, praised, and rewarded for the things that they do right.
Understanding and coping with ADD/ADHD is a journey. Make this journey with your child a fruitful and enlightening one by learning more things that can help you prepare your child for adulthood.