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Summer Vacation Tips for Children with ADHD

Hooray for the arrival of summer! With just a few more weeks of school left, I’m sure everyone is excited for summer vacation to finally begin. If you have children with ADHD, chances are they are already itching to burst out the door to enjoy what the season has to offer. It is already difficult for adults and children to hold back on the things they want, and it is even more so for children with ADHD. Therefore, during the summer, it is important for you, the parent, to make sure that you have a plan ready for your child to prevent any mishaps that could turn summer fun into summer boos.

Tip 1: Plan an itinerary

Do not fall into the trap of waking up with nothing planned to do when you have a child with ADHD. Chances are, your day will quickly turn hectic and your child will be more likely to get into trouble if they become bored and try to self-stimulate. Children with ADHD are inherent sensation-seekers, and are more impulsive than children without this behavioral disorder. Without you to provide a structured day, leaving them to their own devices will likely result in mischief and headaches for you to deal with afterwards.

Tip 2: Take advantage of community resources

If you have trouble planning out your activities, consider using local resources. Your local community should offer ample summer recreational and educational opportunities for youths such as day camps, sports leagues, and lessons. If your child enjoys sports, enrol him/her in teams and take him/her to games. Encourage your artistic children to express their talents through art classes. In addition, check out local museums and zoos to see if there are any summer events scheduled. 

Tip 3: Assign them work

Summer is not just all fun and games. Incorporating work and assignments can make the pleasurable activities that come later more rewarding. If your child is old enough, consider helping them apply for a part-time job. If they are still young, consider assigning them a daily task at home, such as walking the dog, and compensating them to simulate paid work. Start with a few hours then gradually add more time and responsibilities once they show they can handle the responsibilities. The responsibilities that come with work will build a sense of maturity, independence and self-competence. The structure that a job affords can also help regulate children with ADHD, and with the right guidance and encouragement, you may see dramatic changes in your child yet.

Tip 4: Set a bedtime

After a fun-filled day, children will need their sleep in order to function the next day. However, children with ADHD often have trouble going to bed on time. As a result, they become tired and irritated the next day, driving you mad. Therefore, it is critical to have a regular bedtime for these children. The hours can change slightly to accommodate the longer hours of summer, but should not deviate too much from regular school time in order to prevent adjustment difficulties after the summer is over. Talk to your child and come up with a mutually-agreed bedtime schedule and precedent activities, such as story/bath time, to create a pleasant transition from an active phase to a rest phase.

Tip 5: Consult your medical professional about medication

It is tempting to take your children off medication when there is no more school. However, before you make any changes to your child’s medication, it is important to thoroughly discuss this with a medical professional, be it a child psychologist or a physician. Some children may fare well, while with others their symptoms may exacerbate quickly. Each child is different, and it is important to take into consideration your child’s symptoms and medical history before making any changes to his/her medical regimen.

Following these tips for children with ADHD may help make the transition from school to summer vacation a lot less stressful for you. If you organize your days well, you will enjoy your child a lot more as well. Of course, each child is different and requires individual accommodations. For more information on a personalized assessment from a child psychologist, please refer to our services page.  

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