ADHD Summer Survival Tips
How to keep ADHD kids happy and healthy all summer long. Plus, is summer the right time for a medication vacation?
ADHD Summer Tip 4: Set a Bedtime continued...
Bad bedtime habits are "more typical of kids with ADHD because their bodies
are always active, and it's harder for them to settle down to go to sleep,"
Fleiss says. And no matter what time these kids go to sleep, they often get up
at the crack of dawn, she adds.
A set bedtime is essential for kids with ADHD -- and this should not change
simply because the days are longer in summer.
"Set a bedtime Monday through Friday, then be more flexible on weekends,"
Fleiss suggests, and encourage downtime for an hour before the desired bedtime.
Read with your child, watch something relaxing on TV, or tell him or her a
story to create a transition from an active phase to a sleep phase. And "give
in once in awhile. If you go to Great Adventure for the day, you don't have to
run home to get your kid in bed by 9:30 p.m."
ADHD Summer Tip 5: Don't Drop Academics
Making time for tutoring or other learning activities throughout the summer
helps to maintain a routine, and provides academic continuity for maximum
success in the fall, Teitelbaum says. "It is especially challenging for many
kids with ADHD to get back into the flow when school starts, so a summer
reading list or some kind of tutoring can make sure he or she [won't be]
miserable getting started again."
"It's important to include some kind of academic activity throughout the
summer -- even if that just means reading with your child for 20 minutes
throughout the day," echoes Fleiss. "Close to 33% of kids with ADHD also have
other learning disabilities, and it can be easier to fit tutoring in during the
summer than after a full day of school."
Young adds, "Summer is a good time for your child to read what he or she
likes -- instead of books dictated by the school's curriculum. Go to the
library or book store for a book that piques his or her interest."
While learning activities are important during the summer, kicking it up a
notch just before school begins can make a huge difference in your child's
academic performance, says Grcevich. "First impressions among teachers have a
large bearing on how the school year will progress," he says. In the two weeks
before school starts, "I would definitely recommend reinstituting bedtimes and
wake-up times necessary during the school year. Kids will also benefit from
engaging in the cognitive tasks required of them during the school year, such
as reading and practicing math."
Following these tips for kids with ADHD -- structured activities, day camps,
inspired lists, set bedtimes, and ongoing academics -- can alter your attitude
toward June, July, and August, says Robertson.
"If you organize your days, then by the end of the summer, you will not be
jumping up and down for joy when he or she goes back to school," she says.