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Family Day Trip Checklist

#Happyholidays #daytripfun Often the reality of a family fun day out is far more complex than the happy snaps we share on Instagram.

The angst in searching for ideas, planning and booking where to go, what to pack, how to travel, managing moods, snacks, sleep, different needs and wants, timings, can really put the mind into a spin!!

Now, what if you also have some considerations relating to physical or mental health, for many it may seem easier to abort this type of mission all together.

But why should anyone have to miss out on those moments of curiosity, learning, inspiration, entertainment, and sheer joy??! Is there a way around this?

Yes, we believe so! Cerge is a practical tool created by Australian parents, that works as a digital concierge to deliver access and promote inclusion. It provides information to individuals on the destination’s accessible and sensory experience.

In a more self-managed sense, our friends at The Functional Family, who provide strategies and support for people with ADHD have developed a checklist to help you escape the house! Not only do they have the professional expertise but have lived experience themselves.

Read on to hear from Sharon the creator of The Functional Family on how safe environments like those you’ll often discover at a SPARK POP experience, offer the opportunity to test and learn, have fun and grow their confidence.

As a mum of 3 boys with ADHD (throw some Tourette’s, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, sensory processing disorder and specific learning disorders in there too), I know that often our family days out can end in tears… or sometimes in emergency room visits eeekkkk.  We have had our fair share of disasters – all of us leaving the “quality family” time disappointed and overwhelmed.

But I have learnt that you can’t stay locked away. We must keep trying and exposing our kids to new environments and adventures. Every now and again, we have a win—a day out where everyone has a fantastic time and good quality time as a family.  The wins are worth it.  Here is my checklist for planning a fun family day when you have kids with ADHD.  I hope that it sets you up to enjoy many adventures together!

 Family Fun Day Checklist with ADHD

  • Plan the day.  Spend time thinking about what you are doing to do.  How long does each activity take?  When are you going to eat? Is there a place where everyone can move and burn off some energy?  You should ask everyone in the family for input here – giving everyone in the family buy-in to the day’s outcome.
  • Look at the timing.  When are your kids at their best?  Usually, my boys are the best in the morning, so I try and get to activities as the place opens.  First in, no lines (as lines can be a problem for us).
  • Be careful of rushing energy.  Allow plenty of extra time to get ready and leave the house.  Avoid the rushing energy, you know what I am talking about, screaming, “come on, we have to get in the car” often adding pressure can cause the ADHD brain to go into paralysis.  Stay calm, allow time, and work as much as possible through your plan.

Be visual. Draw up the plan so that everyone can clearly see what is happening.  The ADHD brain is an anxious brain – they are comforted by knowing what is coming up.  I like to use my circle method for mapping out the day.   Here is how I do it:

The Functional Family Plan

  • Prep your child – ask questions that require your child to picture what the activity will be like mentally. You might like to show them pictures or videos online.  Things like “When we get to the movies, we scan in our ticket and sit down in the seat.  Do you know what a movie trailer is?”  What we are doing here is getting them to mentally prepare for what they are walking into.
  • Think about sensory input.  Is it going to be loud, noisy, smelly, or quiet?  Do we need to bring headphones, music, sensory/fidget toys or something to help our child regulate?
  • Plan activities in sprints, then snack, rest, and repeat.
  • Pack snacks, water bottles, spare clothes, jumpers, hats, sunscreen – everything!

Get a FREE instant downloadable checklist HERE

It is pretty simple, right?  The key message is spending a little time planning before the day out can be the difference between success and failure.

Need to spark some inspiration? Start with SPARK POP where you’ll discover activities, attractions, tours for littles, teens and all-inbetweens!

The Functional Family provides life-changing strategies and support for ADHD.  Sharon uses her formal training at ADD Coach Academy, lived experience and 13 years of researching ADHD to assist families and individuals with ADHD.  She loves systems that work with the ADHD brain to create more time for joy!

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