Survivng summer vacation with your ADHD child

Surviving summer vacation with your ADHD child

Survivng summer vacation with your ADHD child

Summer vacation is around the corner, and with it the big worry: how to keep our kids entertained for such a long time? The worry, of course, is compounded when at least one of the kids has ADHD. They get bored much faster, they’re constantly looking for exciting things to do, and they demand much more of our attention.

ADHD kids function best when they know what to expect and what’s expected of them, in other words, when they’re in some kind of framework, with a proper schedule and routine. This is true for all ages, but especially for younger kids, who tend to get bored much faster.

Experts say that during summer vacation it’s important to keep children in shape, physically and mentally, so that they don’t lose all the benefits of the hard work they accomplished during the school year. Rather than letting them play on the computer and watch TV all day, it’s important to find enriching and instructive activities to keep them busy.

There are many different activities that can be undertaken alone or in a group. Some of these can be joined within the framework of summer workshops and educational day camps. To motivate your kids, use fun activities as rewards for completing educational ones.

Here are some tips on how to get through summer vacation with your ADHD child and live to tell about it:

  1. Keep to a schedule as much as possible. Obviously, during vacation not everything can be planned, and sometimes it’s fun to be spontaneous. But remember that ADHD kids need structure. Try avoiding situations where nothing is planned; instead, work together with your child to create a schedule that’s but fun and productive to fill the days.
  2. Find activities that encourage creativity and boost self-confidence. Creativity comes naturally in places where your child is intrigued, like at the science museum, countryside trips, workshops your child is interested in, etc. Children feel great satisfaction and pride when they acquire new skills and knowledge, and when they’re doing something that they like and are good at.
  3. Don’t neglect educational activities. Making time for educational activities during the summer helps maintain some kind of routine and prepares your child for the next school year. ADD/ADHD kids work very hard on their learning strategies during the year; it is a shame to lose it all during the summer. They need continuity, so that they can have a soft landing at the beginning of the year.
  4. Make use of existing technologies to pass time in an efficient way. Take advantage of the many computer programs that combine fun with educational activities. For ADHD kids there are specially designed programs that can help treat ADHD symptoms and at the same time prepare your child for the upcoming school year. One of these is AttenGo’s online neuro-cognitive training. The advantage of AttenGo is that your child can train on your personal computer at home, and that three practice sessions a week can achieve long-lasting results. Training with a program like AttenGo can definitely help put the upcoming school year on the right track.
  5. Read! Read! Read! Summer vacation is an excellent opportunity to let your child read the books he wants to read (rather than the ones he has to). Reading a book of interest to him can greatly improve his reading skills, making it easier to cope with school work later in the year.
  6. Keep moving! Make sure your child’s summer activities include lots of fun sports like ball games, swimming, cycling, etc., and try to minimize watching TV or visiting the shopping malls.
  7. Let your child be in charge sometimes. Involve your child in planning and scheduling, and let him decide what he wants to do. At first he’ll probably choose only fun activities, but in time he may suggest educational ones as well. It is best when the initiative for these activities is his.
  8. Set a realistic but consistent bed time. Although during vacation bed time is often later than usual, and not consistent, it’s important to maintain some kind of routine. You can decide together with your child on a realistic bed time, and you should do your best to stick to it.

In general, it’s important to remember that summer vacation is all about balance.  Vacation should be fun and relaxing, without the pressures of the school year, but also a good time to prepare for the next school year.  So don’t push too hard, but don’t let go completely either. Don’t give up on educational activities that keep your child’s brain going and make it easier for him to start the next school year.

Enjoy your vacation!

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*Image: chrisroll courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos