10 Perfect After School Activities for Kids with ADHD
There’s so much misconception about attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Prove all of them wrong with these cool activities for Kids with ADHD.
Reading about ADHD is sometimes depressing. A lot of people often think having ADHD is a bad thing, and that it’s all disruptive and unusual. Well, I can’t put the blame on them: children with ADHD tend to be unpredictable, have low concentration, and are, as the name suggests, hyperactive. Though, with careful assessment and the proper approach, kids with ADHD can do even better than kids without ADHD.
Most parents of kids with ADHD tend to see it as a disorder that needs treatment and medication. However, sometimes, letting all of that energy out is the simple key. Here’s a list of awesome activities for kids with ADHD, and why it’s the best for them.
Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts are organizations formed even before ADHD was defined. These clubs incorporate activities that require a lot of attention, focus, and organization to achieve goals. Their badge reward system is also a clever idea to get kids working towards a goal. Apart from those, engaging in troop activities encourages and familiarizes them to make friends and reach out.
Since Tennis is a sport that requires action and reaction, ADHD kids can develop a lot here. Aside from the need to respond to the ball quickly, they also exercise their fine motor skills with every flick of their wrist in striking the ball. Their patience is also tested when the opponent is serving, or when the play gets interrupted. Also, their jumpy eyes can be an advantage in tennis. A non-ADHD child might react to a ball slower because they have slower eye movement than kids with ADHD.
Kids with ADHD find it hard to participate in group activities. They are also agitated with rules that govern sports like basketball and baseball (plus the waiting game in bases!). This is why swimming might just be the right sport for them. Since the main goal of swimming is just to reach the end fast, their energy will be easily dispensed once they hit the water. Following rules is also not a problem in swimming because, seriously, what rules does swimming have when it comes to game play? Unless they intend to cross lanes while doing a backstroke run, they’ll be fine. Once they start paddling, the room for distraction becomes very little which makes them concentrate more.
Oh and yeah, it’s worth mentioning that Michael Phelps, a swimming Olympian diagnosed of ADHD at age 9, won 22 gold medals in the history of his career.
Kids with ADHD have a different thinking pattern as compared to kids not suffering from ADHD. As a matter of fact, it is said that cycling and biking help normalize their thinking patterns. It also improves their attention and concentration, which is needed in navigating. Of course, just as when driving, cycling requires a cyclist to be in the look-out for crossing pedestrian, or trees they might hit. It also develops their cognitive performance, and improves their mood significantly, because they simply love to bike around.
This is an amazing way to help kids cope with ADHD. In fact, art classes are one of the best methods to help kids with ADHD. Not only does it provide creative freedom for them, but it also provides relaxation and enhances focus. Ultimately, art classes can help them manage their emotions and mood.
Theater and Dance
A friend of mine enrolled her ADHD-diagnosed son in a theater acting class, and it might have been the best decision she made for both of them. Since most affected kids do not respond well to structured learning, theater classes give them the freedom to be spontaneous and creative, while working around a specific goal. This theater class was also generous enough to squeeze in some dancing basics. Now, her kid has got some moves to show when his favorite song comes up. The theater class also got her free time at home!
Okay, so we’ve been saying this for a while now, but ADHD kids really have lots of energy compared to their non-ADHD counterparts. Getting them to run around before studying can help in their concentration and self-control. This same friend of mine observed this with her ADHD-affected child. She always put her kids to play with their dog outside for a while before her tutor arrives.
Just like art classes, horseback riding is being used as a therapy for kids with ADHD. Riding on a horse gives children a sense of control and authority, aside from its calming effects. The bond kids establish with horses also develops their nurturing skills that will prepare them in adulthood.
ADHD kids often have problems in balance and coordination, which gymnastics helps to address. With proper training and thought-out programs specially made for them, it can help kids with ADHD gain a sound physique, and a sense of accomplishment.
Not only is martial arts good for channeling children’s energy, it is also a great activity to achieve physical fitness, flexibility, and mental focus. Sports such as taekwondo and aikido will keep their body on the move and their minds active. There are also figure forms in these activities that will develop their memorization and attention. Yet, the most important lesson kids can learn from martial arts is respect. Bowing in front of an opponent and following instruction from the coach are essential aspects of these activities that embody respect of others.
Bonus: If your child is a bit on the violent side, wrestling their little brothers or even you at home, you can also check out Jujitsu, where grappling and bouldering opponents is encouraged.
Kids with ADHD might be hard to deal with. Though, sometimes, letting them choose what to do will make it easier for you. Give them options in what kind of after school activity they like. ADHD kids may have low concentration abilities, but they can be very dedicated once they find an activity they really love. Never stop encouraging your child, and always keep them going.
Ruth Addie Mendez
Ruth is a working mom who loves doing yoga and eating ice cream at home. Other than cooking and baking, she spends her free time browsing through Twitter and watching UFC. She works as a Community Manager for Afterschool.ae in UAE.