After a long day in the classroom, after-school (or weekend) activities can give ADHD kids a chance to burn off extra energy and boost to their confidence. While martial arts are often touted as the go-to sport for kids struggling with this disorder, parents say they’ve found success with a variety of other activities too. It really depends on your kid — and what his passions are — but active and/or outdoor-based activities are a good place to start. We tapped CHADD (Child and Adults with ADHD) to get the scoop on the best activities to try.
Most kids, ADHD or not, love being outside. Outdoor exercises like biking and hiking are especially good for high-energy kids. Unlike with many team sports such as basketball, baseball, and soccer, there is no standing around time. Your kid will be constantly moving and using large muscle groups, keeping him focused.
Unlike other activities that work either the right or left side of the brain, music exercises both sides at the same time, training your mind to multitask better. If your kid is in a band, orchestra or a choir, they are learning to work as part of a team — a key skill for kids with ADHD.
It worked wonders for Olympic gold-medalist Michael Phelps — who was diagnosed with ADHD at age 9 — so it might just do the trick for your kid too. The constant movement keeps up with your kid’s energy level, and the self-discipline the sport requires is good for them too.
Girl Scouts/Cub Scouts
These organizations were founded before ADHD was even defined, and they’ve been incorporating activities that require focus, attention, and organization forever. They’ve also perfected a system of rewards — super-effective for getting ADHD kids to work toward a goal — with activities like the pinewood derby, arts & crafts, and of course, earning badges for a job well done.
Read more: Parenting