Talk to me about your daily/weekly ro... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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Talk to me about your daily/weekly routines!

anothermother profile image

Yes, routines! But I’d love to hear some specifics from other families with young kids (mine are 9, 6, 4 in Aug and 2–we suspect all four have adhd but it’s still technically early to say about the littlest one).

Also, my husband and I both have ADHD (no one in our family is medicated although we would probably all be better off if some of us were), so while I know the benefit of keeping a routine, it’s not easy for us to follow through as we’re very irregular by nature. We do keep a fairly consistent minimalist daily rhythm centered around snacks/meals, nap/quiet time and bedtime/wake time.

I have a tendency to overplan and then it’s unrealistic and unattainable, so I try not to get too specific with our daily schedules. That said, I also regularly get overwhelmed by decision fatigue when there’s too much uncertainty from day-to-day yet I struggle to commit to plans very far in advance (my tendency is to make plans fairly impulsively, which can be great in the moment but doesn’t do much to help with making our days/lives comfortably predictable). Truth be told, while I know routines are so so helpful, the thought of anything that becomes too routine makes me lose interest before it’s even begun. As a result, we’re often just kind of all over the place.

Can anyone share what their daily/weekly summer routines actually look like? And please, share the tried-and-true as opposed to the best laid plans that never were... As a recovering perfectionist, I’m looking for routines that are realistic and not just sounding great on paper.


7 Replies

Hi! I hope you get some good suggestions from others. I just wanted to say, the things you say about yourself in regards to decision fatigue, impulsive plans, the thought of making a schedule... all could’ve been written by me about myself. I too am a perfectionist and struggle with an all or nothing attitude. I’m coming to understand that all of this (including poor time management when completing something not part of a routine and procrastinating to the bitter end) is possibly due to me having ADHD. Something I didn’t think I had until learning more about my son’s diagnosis of ADHD. Anyway, I’ve been learning a little bit about acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). Maybe if you look that up it will help with some of what you are struggling with as well. I’m realizing the importance of scheduling things so that I don’t live in a state of regret and overwhelm and can be more present in the moment. Take care!

anothermother profile image
anothermother in reply to Game44

I’d say I’m way past the point of beating myself up over unmet (sled-imposed) expectations; My husband has been a great teacher when it comes to learning the importance of just simply getting started and practicing being flexible and adaptive as I go, but I absolutely still struggle with overthinking, overanalyzing, overplanning etc. Since becoming a mother nine years ago, my mantra has been “good enough is enough.” What’s funny is it’s amazing what I can pull off when I’m able to just get out of my own way! I know it’s at least in part related to why I am also so impulsive—it’s often the only way I can get anything done due my perfectionism combined with my impressive ability to procrastinate!

Yes this is very challenging! The day can seem so big! I had three young ones all 2-3 years apart (2 boys and a girl) and I remember it well. I myself can be very scattered, perfectionistic and impulsive and two of of my three kids have adhd so I hear you.

I tried the rigid schedule and it just did not work. What finally worked was kind of running my day like a camp! I broke my day into predictable chunks and then filled in with activities from here. Each day was different and yet overall the same if that makes sense. Here were my chunks. I found the predictability helped my kids.

AM - Wake / breakfast / favorite cartoons (while I tidy up the house and prep for the day) / chores (on rotation so no one fought!) / errands (which I turned into a fun outing) / play in the finished basement (I had it set up like a kid haven complete with a slide, bb hoop, soccer goals, golf putter green, and small trampoline) / swimming pool (lessons) / mini golf / trip to the library to get lots of books / summer workbooks (from the teacher store)

Noon - Lunch either at home or at our activity. Picnic on a blanket at home on rainy days.

Early PM - Quiet time (30-60 minutes)! Everyone in their bedroom for a predetermined time. The younger ones napped even during this time. As they aged, they had to stay in their rooms and do quiet things - read a book, play legos, etc.

Late PM - Snack and outdoor play in the yard (bikes / chalk / stomp rockets / play dates) / Wii with the neighbor kids / manhunt or capture the flag with neighbor kids / basement on rainy days with pool noodle swords / homemade tents (my basement wouldn’t have been in a decorating magazine)!

Dinner - Eat / back outside or play in the basement / large objects to build obstacle courses (couch pillows and cushions). Sang the cleanup song when it got too messy and needed to tidy.

Eve - Bathe / PJ’s / possible snack / cartoon / books read together all in one bedroom (my sons know ALL the princesses thanks to their little sister, LOL). Books before bed together are some of our best memories. We laughed so much.

The Wii was just beginning to take hold during this time so I didn’t have to deal with phones, tablets and all the electronics. My kids are in high school and college now and what I can say is they enjoyed their summer days as kids. It had flexibility with an overall structure. Quiet time was HUGE. They all came out of their rooms refreshed and ready to play. It’s like a reset button. All it was was the PM nap from the toddler days turned into down time.

I miss those summer days when they were young. Soak them up. 💕

You’ve just outlined our basic daily rhythm, which I feel great about as a foundation. My dilemma is typically related to filling the morning window; either I don’t plan anything and it becomes crazytown or I scramble last minute. And while our impulsive outings almost always turn out better than staying home, they often derail us for the rest of the day (wind up eating out or missing naps/quiet time or both).

I feel like every week I’m reinventing the wheel to a degree, and it’s that part of planning different activities each week that becomes tiresome. Some weeks are great and I get the balance just right, but all too often, I spend a ton of energy agonizing over crafting the perfect schedule only to then be so depleted I’m unable to pull anything off. I wonder if I’d be more productive and less irregular if I were medicated... I rely on my two 16oz cups of coffee every morning just to function at all, but my energy levels are so all over the place (crash by 2 most days) and so is my motivation.

I always think it would be great to have more predictable days (like a certain day for library, another for a park etc), but I find is next to impossible to stick to a plan like that. I even loathe a set weekly dinner routine despite how much easier it makes the planning and shopping because I’m just so averse to anything routine. I get how silly it is to acknowledge how much I benefit from a routine and want a more predictable routine yet say how much I hate the idea of routine to my core—that’s a huge part of my struggle. Ugggggh.

Thanks for letting me share. And thanks for taking the time to respond to my post! I really appreciate it. I don’t have many friends in real life who have ADHD kids, so I often feel unheard when I share with my well intentioned friends; they just don’t get what it’s like with a house full of struggling, super emotional, super intense ADHD folks. Phew.

Aw, of course! You’ll find many kindred spirits here!

The schedule I shared was loose — I was dealing with ADHD and also anxiety in various children. If I had in the back of my mind that we were going to the library in the morning but somebody was out of sorts then we just didn’t go! Move to Plan B. There is plenty to do at home. I would loosely think the night before how I wanted my day to go and then I’d work from that but always being flexible. Some days by the end I was on Plan D, E or even F. LOL.

If I may, it sounds like perhaps your morning outings are lasting too long or starting too late. Maybe move quiet time a little later to allow for a morning outing or perhaps shorten the morning outing. Find your natural family rhythm and play to it. Don’t force yourself into a schedule everyone hates. Set as rule in your head, if we’re not out the door by (certain time) then the morning outing gets moved to tomorrow, or to the afternoon after quiet time. Everything takes LONGER to do than you think it will. Always. 😊 Just do little short outings and perhaps that will give you what you’re looking for. Don’t try to do so much. It’s okay - remember it’s supposed to be fun. Slow down the horse - you have a lot of little people in tow.

I do all the things you’re recommending: be flexible and change course as needed depending on moods etc, we never ever rush (it’s just not who I am), I try to plan my days the night before (oil to a few days in advance), our morning outings are usually somewhere between 9-11:30/12 and our quiet time is more like 1:15-3. I read aloud for the first 30min or so of quiet time while big kids lay in their beds and I snuggle 3y (2y still has her own room with her crib but the other three share); then, the 9y and 6y choose a quiet, independent activity for about an hour and are also allowed to cash in any reward tokens they have for up to 30min of alone time with the iPad.

We really have a pretty good rhythm; I just find that the morning chunk and afternoon chunk get unruly (lots of squabbling and destroying the house/yard/etc) if we spend too much time at home. We seem to do best with lots of various activities and play dates (all extroverts!) but still within our daily rhythm. It’s the days that I’m not prepared in advance that get away from me, and I’m just really inconsistent in my ability to be prepared in advance.

The more I explain the more I realize it’s the fact I’m so irregular in my ability to follow through...

Also, like many others, we missed all of our usual activities this past year+ because of Covid, and it really highlighted for me how much I rely on those external constraints to help me stay productive and on top of things. When I’m left to organize all the things AND carry them all out myself, it’s just so hard to execute consistently. I’ll have a great week and then be totally spent and need a week to recover, which is really problematic. I feel like my irregular nature and struggle with being consistent are extra stressful for my kids.

On top of that, we’re unschoolers, and I feel like they’re too often just left to their own devices, and even though none of my kids has ever even once complained of being bored, they’re letting me know in other ways that they’re under stimulated. I have combination locks all over the house and yard to keep them out of stuff, and yet they probably still have too much access to too many activities and materials and therefore just wind up getting into so much stuff.

I’m sorry. Now I feel like I’m both mildly defensive but also just going on and on...

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