Tips for Traveling with Children with ADHD

Eileen Bailey Health Guide
  • During the upcoming holiday season, many families may be traveling to visit relatives and share the holiday with them. Although this can be an exciting time for your child, it can also cause chaos. The following are tips to make a trip with your child a little easier.


    1)      Use a calendar to mark the day you will be leaving, the day you will be returning and where you will be in between. This can help your child keep track of the trip and create more structure around your travel.

    2)      Provide a map with the route you will be taking. If traveling by car or train, mark the route you plan to take, circle things of interest along the way and approximate times you expect to be there.  If traveling by air, mark the beginning and end points and the times your flight is leaving and arriving. Let your child see what areas you will be flying over.

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    3)      Use your itinerary as a learning tool. Your child can do math to see how many miles you will be traveling and learn interesting facts about your destination.

    4)      Talk to your child about the travel plans, let him or her feel involved, maybe by researching and suggesting one interesting place for you to visit along the way or near your final destination.

    5)      Have your child help plan and gather items to help keep him or her entertained. Choose books, coloring books, puzzles, and hand-held games. Your child can help to pack a "travel entertainment" bag. Your child may be more interested knowing he or she helped to choose the items.

    6)      If traveling by car, bring a ball, a Frisbee or another sports item that can provide a few minutes of activity and exercise during rest stops.

    7)      Have a cassette recorder for your child to talk into to record the events of the ride or the trip. This can help if your child is one that talks non-stop. Instead of talking to you the entire trip, he or she can record a "diary" of their trip.

    8)      Bring along cassettes of books or music for your child to listen to.

    9)      If staying with relatives, ask for pictures of your relatives before you go. Talk to your child about who your relatives are and share some stories of each person with him or her. Your child may feel more comfortable if he or she has seen faces and knows something about the people he or she may be meeting.

    10)  Explain your plans ahead of time. Will you be spending the night? Where will you sleep? Where will your child sleep? How long will you be staying? The more information you can provide, the more secure your child will feel during the trip.

    11)  Create a memory book of the trip. Provide a scrapbook and allow your child to save mementos or write stories about your trip. Have your child (depending on the age) take pictures you can put into the scrapbook once you have returned home.


    No matter what time of year, traveling with children with ADHD can be exhausting and stressful. But you can eliminate some of the stress by planning ahead and making sure your child feels included in the plans.


Published On: November 23, 2009