9 Ways to Prepare for Summer with an ADHD Child

Health Writer
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When you have a child, or children, with ADHD, preparation is key. Creating a plan for the summer, even if you will be spending the days at home with them, can be the difference between stress-filled days and an enjoyable few months. The following tips can help you get ready.

Look into overnight camps

If so, spring is the best time to make reservations for camp. Choose a camp that offers structure, but still allows your child to explore his or her interests and make friends.

Check out day programs in your community

Local park and recreation departments often offer an array of summer programs and day camps. If you're not aware of any in your area, check with local colleges, churches or community centers. Also, talk to the guidance counselor at your child’s school to find out about opportunities in your area. In most areas, private day camps are also available, although these tend to be more expensive.

Make a plan for days your children will be home

While summer break is a way for your child to get away from the pressures of school, you also don’t want long stretches of time when he or she has nothing to do. Children with ADHD do best when they have a daily routine. Plan some structured time, such as eating, reading, outside play, computer or television time or chores to minimize the boredom.

Draw up a list of activities your child enjoys

It might be bike riding, skateboarding, drawing, reading or some other activity your child finds fun. When you hear, “I’m bored,” you and your child can refer to the list to find something to do.

Find a way for your child to learn something new

Look into classes or programs where your child can learn. It might be taking a gymnastics class, learning to draw, learning to ride a two-wheel bike, learning to swim. When your child learns a new skill, it's a boost to self-confidence.

For older children, look for volunteer opportunities

Children can help at summer camp programs--especially if they previously attended the camp. But there also are  many organizations that can use help. Check out the opportunities in your neighborhood. Volunteering gives your child a feeling of accomplishment, as well as a sense of pride.

Schedule fun outings at least once a week

Make use of local historical sites, museums, plan a day in the park, go to the library. Set aside one or two days a week (or one day on the weekend if you and your spouse both work) to spend as family time. If your children are home most of the week, these outings will help break up the time and give your family a chance to have fun together.

Schedule play dates with school friends

One way to make sure social skills don’t decline during the summer is to make sure your child is still interacting with classmates. Before school ends, talk to parents of children your child spends time with at school and make plans to have the kids get together once a week or every other week.

Keep up with ADHD treatment

If your child usually takes medication, talk with your doctor before deciding to stop the medication during the summer. And, if your child normally sees a therapist or behavioral specialist, keep up these appointments during the summer.