Choosing After School Activities

By Eileen Bailey

It has long been known by parents of children with ADHD that the problems associated with ADHD do not go away when the school bell rings at 3:00.  Inattention, trouble focusing and difficulty with social skills continue throughout the day.  Keeping children busy and out of trouble after school can be as hard as it is to keep them on track during the school day.  

Understanding ADHD and how it affects your child can help parents in planning activities that will bring out the best in their children.  While some children may do extremely well in team sports, others may find the structure and competitiveness difficult.  Others with social immaturity may find it hard to be part of a team or not get along well with teammates.  Some other children may find the inability for self-expression to be stifling.  It is necessary for parents to understand both ADHD and their child’s personality in order to find the best after school activities.  

Physical activity is always good.  Exercise can help release excess energy as well as stimulate the brain.  Team sports can help teach social skills as well as provide a sport that requires physical and mental challenges.  For those children that do not do well on team sports, you might consider swimming, track, dancing, gymnastics, or golf as a physical outlet.  All of these provide physical and mental stimulation without the added stress that team sports can have. 

There are also many forms of martial arts.  These provide structured environments as well as teach self-control and patience.  

Acting classes can be wonderful.  They can provide ways to use your child’s imagination and help to develop social skills.  Acting teaches group play and also requires individual learning.  They help provide a creative outlet and provide for many different opportunities, from acting to scenery to stagehands.  

Art or music classes also provide a creative outlet for ADHD children.  Many children with ADHD have artistic traits and helping them to develop their skills is wonderful for self-esteem.  

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