By John and Diane.
Although your kids are only off a week or so for winter break, and the holiday hustle and bustle have helped you get through (or maybe you have just survived it?) the first part, but now you have a few more high-energy days to deal with.
With this in mind we thought we would just reiterate a few points from our The ADHD and RAD KidSummer Planner: or "Why I Didn't Lose My Mind While My Kid's were onSummer Vacation" post to help you deal with the rest of the week off and keep your ADHD, RAD and all your kids on track to go back to school.
Once you get past all the excitement of the Christmas parties and family gatherings, the remainder of the kid’s time off should be both fun and structured. Remember, just like with the longer summer break, the key to a successful WINTER break with minimal tantrums, episodes, blow outs, running –aways, fits, fights and other miscellaneous catastrophes is sticking to a schedule.
Let them have free-fun for a few days, but at least 3 or 4 days before school starts, begin to reel them in and get them back into the school –day schedule. Start getting them up and to bed at normal school day times and add more chores and structured activities to their days. Even if it's playtime…assigning it a time and place helps ADHD and RAD kids feel secure and safe with boundaries for their day.
Remember, ADD/ADHD and RAD kids need structure to feel safe and control anxiety (as do all kids really,) so when you give them boundaries and schedules, you help them feel safe and reduce the source of tantrum-inducing anxiety and frustration.
So, a typical day on winter break may look like this:
7am Get up, brush teeth, and make bed
7:30 breakfast time
8-9 morning chores
9:30 -11 Playtime
11:30 Put away toys
1-2 Outside walk with Mom or Dad
2-4 Play time No TV
4-5 Help Mom and Dad get ready for dinner
Etcetera, etcetera. Get the idea? Don't forget to include doctor appointments and counseling sessions you may have scheduled during break.
Have the schedule written up and posted on the refrigerator so the kids can see it and know what to expect and when. Just like with the other "House Rules" and "Chores list" etc. Let the kids know the schedule can change if Mom or Dad says so… just to cover emergencies, but a basic schedule will help keep kids centered and in their school day routine.
Good luck and enjoy your extra family time.