6 Ways to Make Family Entertainment Fun for Everyone

By Erica Patino

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Learning and attention issues can add to the challenge of planning family entertainment. Use these tips to help make family time fun for everyone.

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Siblings sitting on a bed tossing playing cards them into the air
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Steer clear of activities that spotlight your child’s learning and attention issues.

Avoid games or activities that might be embarrassing or stressful for your child. For example, if your child has dyslexia, a game like Scrabble isn’t a great choice. Instead, you might try a card game with pictures, such as Go Fish. If your child has ADHD and has trouble sitting still, family movie night at home might be better than going to the theater. At home, your child can move around and leave the room without frustrating everyone else.

Siblings playing Twister
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Don’t play favorites.

If you’re playing a game, don’t let one of your children cheat or get an “extra turn” because of learning and attention issues. Have everyone play by the same rules. And pick a game that everyone can understand.

Young child looking into a fish tank at an aquarium
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Pick places with a variety of activities.

Kid-friendly places tend to have activities everyone can enjoy. For example, if you go to an aquarium, children with learning and attention issues who don’t feel like reading about the exhibits can have fun watching—or maybe even feeding!—the sea otters. At museums, it’s good to make sure audio tours are available so kids with ADHD or dyslexia have another way of taking in information.

Children talking to each other at an Art Museum
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Don’t make everyone be together all the time.

Kids with learning and attention issues may need a break during family outings, and that’s OK. For example, if your child has dyslexia and gets bored or worn out at a museum exhibit with too much reading, take her to a different part of the museum for half an hour. That way the rest of the family can continue through the exhibit. This doesn’t mean you aren’t having a family outing. You just may need to do some things apart.

Father and daughter sitting on the top of a mountain enjoying the view
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Give everyone a special task.

When you go out, give family members something to do that plays to their strengths. If you’re going for a hike, don’t put your child in charge of reading the map if she struggles with visual-spatial awareness. Someone else can figure out which trails to take while your child fixes snacks and fills water bottles.

Mother and son with faces painted in team colors enthusiastically cheering on a soccer game
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Take turns picking the activity.

If your child has learning and attention issues and loves basketball, you may be tempted to go to lots of basketball games because that’s where she’ll have the easiest time staying engaged. But always choosing basketball could make your other children feel resentful. Let them have a turn deciding what to do. Assure your basketball fan that she’ll get to pick the family activity soon, and look for other ways to handle sibling resentment.

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About the Author

Portrait of Erica Patino

Erica Patino

Erica Patino is an online writer and editor who specializes in health and wellness content.

More by this author

Reviewed by Laura Tagliareni, Ph.D. May 10, 2014 May 10, 2014

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