Friendships & Activities

Small Victories: Leggo of His LEGO? Never!

LEGO blocks turned out to be the perfect toy to draw out my son’s strengths — and give us both some quiet time.

Parenting ADHD Children: Toys That Build Skills
Parenting ADHD Children: Toys That Build Skills

Learning to build quiet time into my ADHD son’s day turned out to be a snap.

When I bought a set of LEGO blocks for my eight-year-old son, Harry, I knew it was a calculated risk. Most toys, even those that he just has to have, fail to hold his attention for more than a couple of days.

Worse, I knew that if Harry didn’t experience immediate success — create a blinking, bleeping space station within 60 seconds — he’d yell and stomp away in ADHD-fueled frustration. He’d feel like a failure.

On the flip side, the LEGO set might just engage that side of Harry that loves to build things. And it would improve his fine-motor skills. I’d also settle for keeping Harry occupied while I cook supper.

LEGO blocks delivered all of the good stuff — and none of the downside. Harry, as it turns out, is something of a LEGO savant. On his first attempt, he followed the directions and created a trailer-truck-boat hybrid. He played with the finished product, complete with running commentary, for hours.

Harry has moved on to what I call “improvisational LEGO play” — inventing contraptions, such as a rocket ship-helicopter that can land on snow or water. The plastic blocks inspire him and build his confidence.

So what if a few pieces turn up in the litter box? The free time they buy me is worth it. Bringing the set home was one of those small victories a parent of an ADHD child looks for.

I say, “Thank you, LEGO!” Harry says, “We can get more?”