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The Family Day Out Checklist with ADHD 

Scrolling through Facebook,  you see all the photos of families enjoying family time together. “Holidays! #blessed” “Family Fun Day”.  We often can’t help but to compare our family's lives to others. 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: 
  • 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. 

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! 

Plan your next family day out with Spark Pop:

Founded by a mum who understands how precious time is and prefers to live life to the fullest rather than read about it! SPARK POP is great for colouring memories with a curated collection of hundreds, soon to be thousands, of unique, POPular and FUN experiences for 3 to 16-year-olds and their families living in south-east Queensland, Greater Sydney, Newcastle, Greater Melbourne, and coming soon to Adelaide and Perth. You’ll discover everything from the thrills and spills racing around the go-kart track to encountering Antarctic penguins or even being pampered like a princess!

Ever wondered about ADHD Coaching?

Adults and Teenagers:

ADHD coaching is powerful.  It is a great way to explore what makes you tick and help you with things you are struggling with.  An ADHD coach is someone who is specifically trained to work with people with ADHD and to view your concerns with an ADHD lens.  Having a great ADHD coach in your corner can be life-changing.

Coaching is a partnership between the client and the coach. Coaching is process of uncovering and exploring the client's strengths and looking at the challenges they may face and together as a team exploring tools and strategies that will work for the individual.

It is incredibly effective and tailored to the individual.

You meet with Sharon via zoom every fortnight and review after 3 months (minimum) to check that we are hitting our target.


Most families can benefit from having one on one coaching.  As no two families are the same and the friction points you are experiencing are unique to your family.  Coaching enables us to quickly identify these issues and equip you with strategies and solutions from someone who knows the ADHD brain and how to work with it.

Please book a FREE 15 min phone chat with me 

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