We hope you are all having a great summer.  Summer is a perfect time of year to relax and regroup before school starts.  It is also a great time of year to quietly work on executive function skills.  Below are a few suggestions on how to use summertime as an opportunity to build EF skills.

Create a summer routine checklist

A checklist is one of the most effective tools to support working memory and promote the habit of using a visual reference to aid and guide productive decision-making.  It should be used to help your child manage ‘free time’ vs. ‘productive time’, as well as strengthen EF skills in task planning and completion (See attached sample summer routine).  Read more about EFD, routines, and breaking down tasks. (Dr. Susan Giurleo)

Develop expectations around meaningful family chores. 

Chores help foster planning and prioritizing, as well as foster independence and family connection.  Many students are capable of taking an active role in mealtime prep and clean-up.  For example, set a plan for each child to manage dinner one or two nights of the week. Keep it simple, but set the expectations that the meal will be healthy and something everyone can enjoy.  Dinner ideas

Start using an agenda now to plan and manage summer work and summer activities.

It should be used to plan out summer reading, math assignments, trips, and activities. You should expect that your child start using it now.

Use the power of positive feedback and praise

Many of our children are well aware of their EF weaknesses. They are reminded every day of how hard life and school can be.  Always try to focus on what is working as you promote effective effort to complete chores, tasks, goals, etc.  Use the correct language in your feedback that will foster a growth mindset and grit.  Always remind them that failure is part of life and that overcoming that failure and adversity is what matters more than anything else. (Video Playlist: Freedom to Fail Forward)

Summer is a time to develop and explore strengths. 

If your child loves animals, they should be helping on a farm.  If your child loves computers, they should be building computers and attending computer camp.  If your child loves reading or writing, they should be involved in structured opportunities to explore these interests, make friends, etc. Webinar: 4 Ways to Unlock the Strengths of Your Child With ADHD

Sincerely, Dr. David Murphy

The South Shore’s leading expert in ADHD coaching and consulting services for students and adults.