Snow days can be a fun opportunity to relax, catch up on hobbies (or school work), and romp around in the fresh powder. However, a disruption to our normal routine can also be the cause of chaos, unproductivity and family arguments.
ADHD and Routines
It's no secret that kids and adults with ADHD often thrive in an environment that has consistency and routine. Doing the same thing (in the same order) helps with all core areas of Executive Functioning. 1) It relieves Working Memory so you don't have to keep schedule items on the top the mind; 2) It fundamentally instills a sense of Time Management, as people with ADHD often struggle with "feeling" time approach and pass; and,
3) It helps keep our Self Regulation in check.
Snow days can throw off our entire routine. You may get up at a different time, eat a bigger and longer meal, work out (or not work out) and kids may not have the same need to get to their school (even if online) at the same time.
Suddenly, your child may be needy at different times of the day, or hyper, while you are trying to work. They may have homework that doesn't get done even though they had less (or no) school. As the adult, you may also recognize that you had certain expectations for the snow day that changed because of your family's needs. All of these things can result in tension and arguments.
There are a few things you can do. First, it's important to understand that context and routines are critical. Instead of leaving the entire day's schedule open and free, treat it like you would a regular weekday OR weekend day. Alternatively, sit down as a family in the morning and schedule out hour-by-hour plans for work, play and activities. (See: Sample Daily Schedule for Kids and Daily Routine for Adults) Remember also that diet and exercise are incredibly important. Enlist the help of others to help with your child's day as well.
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We hope to provide tips and content that is useful in understanding ADHD and Executive Functioning. Every family's situation is different. If you would like to discuss your child's strengths and needs, please contact us today for a free consultation! Sam Barnes Owner and Center Director