Friday, April 17, 2009

Free Family Fun - RAD style

The weather is finally warming up. With the economy the way it is and the loss of so much of our college funds we have been coming up with ways to entertain the family that are free or low cost. With a child with RAD family outings can be challenging because they often cannot handle the pressure of that much togetherness. Here is my list with a few suggestions I have added some RADifications at the end.
Walking trails - take the camera and make each a special hunt. Our last trip was a hunt for signs of new life. The photo above and below are from our walk last Sunday.

Look for free museums. There are many small museums that are no cost.
Check out programs at the public library.
Volunteer at an animal shelter. - they may have age limits.
Call interesting manufacturers and ask for tours.
Pack a simple sack lunch together and spend the afternoon at the park.
Make scavenger hunts. Write out a list of things they must find and go out into a neighborhood or park in search.
Plan out a vegetable or flower garden on paper. Go seed shopping. You'll save on your grocery bill. Plant a salad! lettuce, radishes, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes.
Take a sketch pad outside and draw together
Roller skating in the drive way
teach your child to grill
Use a fire pit to roast hot dogs and marshmallows (our favorite)
Go to the library and get a book on birds and go bird watching
With kids with RAD they do need some preparation. I usually do not tell about a special activity until right before or the anxiety about going will cause them to act out. When we are ready to go we explain what we are doing simply. Let them know you plan on them succeeding. If they begin to get anxious stop and get it under control right away rather than let it escalate. This may mean sitting down for a few minutes. Stop and have them run some races in a grassy area. Physcial exertion will help. Remind them of their EMDR tapping, slow breathing, whatever method you use to help calm. Since most of them have ADHD a complete change in subject such as starting to tell jokes, sing songs or say "Hey remember when..." will distract them from whatever they are anxious about. If you are going some place in public develop a signal such as a wink that says "Hey. I see you are acting out and want to have a loud fit in public. Go ahead." Then when they start in give them the wink. It works for mine really well. Springtime family activities can still be fun as long as they are kept fairly short, involve some physical activity and Mom can stay regulated! Have a healing day!


Lorraine said...

Thanks, I will need some of those this summer. Last summer the changes in schedule and such made my little Radish have a terrible time. He is already acting out because he is afraid he will regress again and have a terrible summer. I will use some of these ideas.

Brenda said...


We will talk about summer soon. It requires some major structuring and even then it is rough.

Lorraine said...

Thanks, all my friends with thier normal kids are looking forward to summer and don't understand why I am not really. I only have one adorable little radlet, but my healthy kids all know what he did to the family last summer and so they are nervous too.