I’ll take summer--and the ADHD-friendly active play that it offers--over winter anytime.
Here in central Iowa, we’re having a reprieve from winter weather, with temperatures in the mid 60’s to low 70’s. Being able to send Natalie outside to run, bike, and swing away her ADHD energy is a dream come true. It’s been a l-o-n-g winter.
I’m feeling my way as to how much freedom Natalie, at age 8 1/2, will be able to handle this spring and summer. Can I fill the dishwasher while she plays in the yard, or do I need to be outside with her? Will she dart across the street without looking both ways when she sees Lindzey come out her front door? Will she get into Don’s tools in the garage?
So far, most signs point to an awesome, low-stress summer.
We’ve re-established some standing rules already. A couple of time-outs for crossing the street impulsively seem to have done the trick, at least for routine crossings. We’ll see what happens when something really exciting is happening on the other side!
Ty and Kate, two five-year-olds in our neighborhood, are experiencing a new of freedom, for the first time, this spring. Five seems to be the age where kids make that transition from having a parent supervising them directly when they are outside, to having a parent nearby, and simply checking in at regular intervals. Judging from our neighborhood standard, Nat’s only three to four years behind!
After playing outside with minimal supervision all day on Saturday, Nat and Kate ended the day badly. We grilled hamburgers and hot dogs for supper, and Kate stayed to eat with us. I cleaned up while Nat and Kate played outside. Nat ran inside to ask, “Has it been two hours?”
“Two hours since when?” I asked.
“The lady said the dogs would sleep for two hours, then we could play with them again.” I had no idea who she was talking about. Uh oh. What had I missed?
“Can we go see the dogs?”
A minute later I looked outside, and the girls are gone. I found them four houses down. They rang the doorbell of a neighbor we don’t know, and asked if her dogs could come out and play.
Oh, how quickly they can find danger! Ringing a stranger’s doorbell, for goodness sake. I could have died.
I marched Kate home, and reported the incident to her dad, then made Nat come inside for the night.
So summer won’t be completely stress free. But I’ll take summer--and the ADHD-friendly active play that it offers--over winter anytime.