Summertime and the ADHD Child

by Eileen Bailey

Children look forward to the long days of summer. There is no schoolwork, no homework to complete, just time for playing. Parents raising children with ADHD are faced with a dilemma. They know their children do better in structured environments, but they want them to be able to enjoy the time off from the many responsibilities and difficulties of school. How then, can parents offer their children with ADHD a summer filled with enjoyable activities and sometimes-lazy days, but yet continue to monitor and manage the ADHD symptoms

Make a Goal to Improve One Behavior 

Even though schoolwork is over, your children can still improve life skills. Look back over the past school year and focus on one specific area (trying to improve too many areas at one time will tend to overwhelm any child, especially one with ADHD.) Maybe your child could use help with socialization or with task completion. Maybe they could use extra work on organization or anger management. Choose one area you feel your child would benefit from the most. You can talk with your child’s teacher and ask for their input as well. 

Discuss the different ideas with your child and ask what they would like to work on. They will be more motivated to improve if they are part of the decision making process. Plan activities throughout the summer to reinforce skills. For example, if together you choose to work on social skills, plan times your child can get together with other children and talk with them before about some ways they can improve getting along with other children. 

Be sure to offer support and encouragement and always let your child know that you are available if they need assistance. 

Supervise and Structure Activities 

Children with ADHD often need more supervision than non-ADHD children. Without monitoring, free time can spell disaster. Long days without supervision ultimately bring about boredom. And boredom, coupled with impulsiveness and hyperactivity will ultimately bring about trouble. Even older children still need to be monitored. 

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