ADHD Summer Strategy: Things to Consider
By David A. Morris, LCSW
As the parent of a child with ADHD or as a teenager coping with it, you have worked so hard this year sticking with your medication for ADHD. You even stuck by the behavior plan and hopefully experienced progress. You fought through exhausting mornings of getting ready for school, but now it is summer…
How can you maintain what your child has gained throughout the school year during this relaxing season?
Here are some tips to help you build a great ADHD summer strategy:
- ADHD Summer Medication Vacation: It was once thought that stopping the medication over the summer was the healthiest option. But many experts recommend a similar or adjusted dose during the summer as opposed to stopping it for all three months. A child may not have the rigors and demands of school but medication isn’t just about focus and attention. Your child is likely to still need help with problem solving, emotional regulation and impulse control this summer! Will these areas negatively impact the child’s life at camp, at work, on vacation and with their friends? Work with your doctor and therapist on targeting when the medication is needed and create a summer ADHD medication plan that meets everyone’s needs.
- ADHD Summer Behavior Planning: Focus your behavior plan to address one specific behavior this summer. Provide lots of positive feedback in this area and create some flexibility for areas of behavior you are not working on. Engage the child or teenager in developing the consequences for the behavior especially when it comes to rewards.
- Structure Their Time: One of the benefits of the school year is a consistent, structured routine which your child or teenager with ADHD can rely upon. Look for opportunities this summer to build a daily routine and structure specific time at least once per day during that routine. It could be as simple as the morning is for quiet play, the afternoon for outside play, and the evening for family interaction. Within that structure, be intentional about 1 hour. Create an agenda, rules, interactions and positive reinforcement for this hour.
- ADHD Summer Friendships: School provides a constant flow of peer to peer interactions that may not happen as often during the summer. Create play dates, sleepovers, friend-gatherings for your child or teenager to help them interact with their peers. If you are working on social skills, use your focused behavior plan during this time.
For great ideas to help your son/daughter with ADHD this summer go to ADDitude Magazine online.
If you need help creating a summer plan for your son/daughter with ADHD this summer, contact us at New Directions Counseling Services. We have caring, collaborative therapist that can help. Call now 724.934.3905