From the perspective of Dyan Roosma, Treatment Mom
As a treatment mom, my summer is filled with different kinds of fireworks than those I remember from my childhood. Many long summer days are full of temper tantrums, tears, hair pulling, stealing, lies, and sneaking (hardly the pool parties, bike rides, and lemonade stands I recall!).
Sound familiar? If your child has attachment disorder, summertime can melt the best of parents. Structure is the key to school-break survival.
Here are some ideas to have a fun summer break with your child with attachment disorder:
1. Fill your days with physical activity. In our family, we go on long hikes. Here are some other options:
-Take your child swimming (as long as you can supervise your little angel and so he or she can’t hurt others)
-Make use of some grass, a sprinkler, or hose for some water fun
-Let your child run free in a large fenced area with some safe building materials. I know you may worry about safety. Yet, the joys of childhood can provide healing for your child (and even you!).
2. After all that physical exercise, give your child some rest. Make this part of your day—not a punishment or consequence. It’ll give you time to rejuvenate too (a very important piece of a peaceful summer).
3. When it’s especially hot, game time provides a great indoor activity. You need to take charge though. If your child gets controlling, shut the game down (with a smile on your face). Let them know they’ll have another chance to play. But don’t give them a specific time for that do-over.
4. Just as large building materials can engage your child’s mind, so can small manipulatives. Give your child some Legos, put your feet up, and watch the wonderful things she creates!
5. Engage your child in chores! The work still needs to get done. Your child can help right beside you. We “time our kids in” with chores. This means we do the chores alongside our children. They wash, I dry. We hang laundry on the line together. We have two brooms and sweep at the same time. You get the idea. It brings a feeling of family and shared purpose. As a bonus, this shared work reduces temper tantrums. After all, “it’s fair” when everyone works together.
6. Like always, take care of yourself! Find a way to get a break. Don’t forget that you’re important too. Your child needs you at your best.
These are just a few of the ideas that work for us. Summer is a daunting task that overwhelms even the bravest of us. Honestly? I dread it every year. But with a little thought, a lot of enthusiasm, and some planned rest; we can all survive this scary project. Stay cool!
Image courtesy of Keerati/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Please call and invite Forrest Lien to speak at your parent and professional groups worldwide at (303) 674-1910. When we learn together, we can work together to gain awareness and support for kids and families struggling with reactive attachment disorder.
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