Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Year, New Calendar

guest blog by Karen Sampson Hoffman, MA

Along with shopping for holiday gifts (five children call me aunt and one toy store awaits my mad dash), I hunt for two calendars every year. One will become my sister’s family notebook, where she keeps track of everyone’s schedules and events, and one will be a pocket calendar for me. Without them we wouldn’t be able to keep track of the routines, events, and holidays in our very busy lives. It just wouldn’t be New Year’s without the New Calendar.

In homes affected by ADHD, planning takes conscious effort. More so for long-range planning, which is what most of us do as we approach the new year. Getting our calendars ready is important. Finding a calendar early is vital, since they disappear from stores sometime in early January.

Planning for the year

There are rhythms in routines. The rhythm of the year goes into the calendar first. If you find a calendar with holidays already marked, you’re ahead of the game. Mark the dates of public and religious holidays, along with family holidays and neighborhood or school events. Next make sure to add birthdays, followed by anniversaries. If you know vacation schedules, put them in now. This is the time to make reservations for family trips or to schedule time in the coming months to do so.

For those who have children affected by ADHD, now is the time to make plans for your child to attend specialized summer camps or programs:
•    Start early in finding and applying to camps. Programs fill up quickly and scholarships may be limited.
•    Review your options. There are many styles of camps, from day camps to overnight adventures camps, to one s that focus on academic, arts and social skills.
•    Evaluate your child’s strengths, weakness and desires.
•    Talk with your child about possible programs. You may want to select three programs you are comfortable with and allow your child to choose from among those.
An article on savvy tips for selecting camps for children with ADHD appeared in Attention, and the National Resource Center on ADHD, a program of CHADD, also has a resource on camps

Planning by the month

For each month, consider which events will require additional pre-planning. The goal is always to take large projects and break them into smaller “bites.” Perhaps your family celebrates Easter; one weekend could be Chocolate Bunny Day for making candies and a separate weekend will be Spring Cleaning. The same can be done for other holidays.

Most organizations keep members informed through e-mail newsletters. When the monthly or weekly announcements arrive, jot them on your calendar right away. Get information in the calendar as soon as it comes your way and you’ll be better able to plan.

Planning by the week

Some calendars allow you to view one week at a time; or, you can draw up weekly calendars to keep on your desk or the refrigerator. Decide which day is your Day One or the start of your week. On Day One, check your calendar for all events, holidays and projects. Prepare a to-do list and keep it with your calendar for easy reference. Many people find it helpful to cross off accomplished tasks or to draw through a day once it’s ended.

Smart planning

•    December or January—Mark all holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and vacations. Find summer camps, programs, or holiday destinations.
•    February—Make reservations. Begin family and friend talks about holiday locations for the year.
•    March and April—Make sure revisions are in your calendar.
•    May and June—Prepare for summer; make arrangements at work for vacation or at home for children during the summer.
•    July—Mid-year review of the calendar; holiday discussions with friends and family.
•    August—School shopping, late summer sales for business clothes and start planning for the holidays.
•    September and October—Start budgeting for holiday gifts and home repairs before winter.
•    November—The holiday season has begun. Break holiday projects into “bites.”
•    December—Finish holiday shopping. Make the holidays work for you by delegating and keeping projects manageable.

And December’s most important task: Find a new calendar for the coming year!

Karen Sampson Hoffman, MA, is the coordinator of the NRC's Ask the Expert webinar series. An earlier version of this article appeared in Attention magazine. Join CHADD and receive every issue!

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