What ADHD Gets Right About Play

by Yafa Crane Luria


ADHD and Play

A couple of weeks ago, I was texting with my accountability partner, Betina. Betina is a former student who is now a great friend and also a professor of education. She was on Spring Break and very happy about it. I quipped, “Every week should be spring break!” Am I right?

Those of us who parent or work with kids with ADHD know that recess is important, but I think that we have something much bigger to teach the world.

Here’s my ADHD take on the situation: what the Western world gets wrong is that we separate work from play. Instead, every day should be a little work and a little play. By relegating play or free time or vacation to a particular, rather arbitrary, set of days or hours or minutes (who decided recess should be when it is, and is it when your child needs it?) we devalue both play and work.

Work is considered the serious, valuable part of the day and play is considered the unfocused, slacker part of our lives. We ask, “What do you do for a living?” rather than, “How do you play?” or “What are you going to do with your ‘vacation evening’ tonight?”

Or how about this?

Why is one day a week called, “Family Day”? You live with your family every day; why not have family time every day, not just at dinner but other times as well. Most family days are either Saturday or Sunday because that’s when we go to church or synagogue and because, generally speaking, we don’t work on the weekends.

See the dichotomy we set up when we adhere to these arbitrary distinctions? If PLAY is fun, relaxing, full of wonder, loving, and interesting, then WORK is arduous, exhausting, tedious, irritating, and boring. Who wants to live like that?

Work and play every day

I propose that we work and we play EVERY day. Maybe we don’t go to work every day, maybe we don’t go on vacation every day, but why do we only have time to see friends or play with our kids when we’re not working or we’re on vacation? How about having lunch with someone via Skype or in person? How about having a pre-breakfast walk or game of catch? What about an after dinner hour of no technology, everyone just stays at the dinner table and reads or does art work or builds a Lego kingdom? How about an hour of learning a new subject on the weekends? Or computer games only for an hour during the week and none on the weekends? (Many families do the opposite – no tech during the school week).

There should be free time, fun time, play time several times a day every day. And there should be learning, exploring, chores, work several times a day every day as well. That takes away the disappointment of having to “stop playing and get to work.”

Be a game changer (no pun intended)

ADHD offers the world an opportunity to live better; let’s start by embracing our playfulness and sharing it with the world? We’re the game changers but we spend more time trying to fit in (a worthy goal) and almost no time trying to teach others about a more interesting, more fulfilling way to live (an awesome goal)!

We do it right.

Scroll down to the comments section to share your thoughts with other readers.

xo, Yafa

Copyright 2017 Yafa Luria/Margit Crane All Rights Reserved


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