Summer is approaching and many families are making their summer vacation plans. Families with an ADHD child should do a little extra planning to ensure their vacations are enjoyable for everyone. Below are some travel tips recommended by Denise Mann at Everyday Health.
Be aware of how vacations can affect your ADHD child – ADHD is characterized by inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Vacations can involve a lot of novelty, excitement and stimulation. But be aware of the potential for too much stimulation and a feeling of less control over behaviors. As much as possible, try to plan activities that relate to your child’s skills and interests. They are likely to do better if they are doing something they really enjoy.
Choose your vacation destination carefully – Venues like Disney or other theme parks can be very stimulating and may make ADHD symptoms worse in some kids. The whole family may be better off going for a hike and picnic than spending the whole day in long lines for rides and junk food. To the degree that you can, make transportation to your destination as short and efficient as possible and pack in some activities that your child likes to do to keep him or her occupied.
Maintain a routine as much as possible – Kids with ADHD do better when they are on a regular schedule that includes specific times to wake up and go to bed. While routines might change somewhat during a vacation, they don’t have to fall completely by the wayside. Try to maintain as much structure as possible and make sure your kids do something to unwind before bed.
Stay with the medication regime – Kids with ADHD are more impulsive when they are off their medication. This can increase the risk of running off or getting into trouble while on vacation. If you do want to give your child a break from ADHD medications because of their side effects, talk with your doctor first to determine how best to accomplish this. It’s not always appropriate. Some ADHD kids may need to stay on their medication all of the time regardless of whether they are on vacation. It’s also a good idea to have the contact information for your child’s doctor on hand, just in case.
Pay extra attention to your child’s safety – No matter where you travel on vacation, even to a kid-friendly environment like a theme park or an all-inclusive beach resort, safety has to be the most important aspect to keep in mind. Many kids with ADHD are impulsive and may walk off or take risks in the water. Ensure there is always adequate supervision.
Other resources you may want to check out are:
ADDitude magazine – https://www.additudemag.com/slideshows/travel-tips-for-adhd-families-make-vacation-fun-again/
Traveling Mom – https://www.travelingmom.com/special-needs-travel/tips-for-taking-a-road-trip-with-kids-with-adhd/
Health Central – https://www.healthcentral.com/article/taking-a-vacation-with-your-adhd-child-and-staying-sane
Following these basic recommendations can help make your vacation more fun and enjoyable for you, your ADHD child and their siblings.