How To Get Structure For ADHD Children
For people with ADHD, going on vacation can be a stressful and overwhelming event. Vacations involve planning, organizing, and attention to detail to say the least. These are skills that people with ADHD often struggle with because they often have difficulties dealing with activities involving high levels of executive functioning.
What are the skills needed to have a peaceful summertime?
Start planning ahead and with the end in mind (having a stress free, fun summer):
- Vacation: several months out you might plan on booking the airplane tickets, hotel, and rental car.
- Keep all correspondence in one place. Whether you prefer taking notes on paper or writing things down on your phone, it is important to keep things such as hotel reservations, tickets, and anything else related to your vacation in one place that you can reference.
- Several weeks out start making sure each family member finds their luggage and have each person make a list of what to bring.
- Several days before you may hold each family member accountable for packing and have him or her use the list they created for reference
- Planner: Write out all the things you need to do and a time line in which to accomplish these goals
- When you break down the planning into smaller tasks and give yourself a deadline for each task, the process becomes easier to manage and less stressful.
- Dry erase board: In order to help with organization, you could try writing out a giant to do list on the dry erase board and placing it in the kitchen for the family to see. Everyone in the family is aware of what should be done.
One thing that school and work provide is daily structure. Without structure it’s easy to become distracted and forgetful, which can lead to stress and anxiety.
While this can be an exciting time to bond as a family, it can also be stressful if one or more family members have ADHD.
Creating routines, structure and summer schedule
A creative way to plan out the summer for children with ADD/ADHD and increase family bonding is to start with a summer schedule. This brings routine and structure to the family and also keeps everyone active.
- Create a weekly game nights and movie nights
- Plan themed family dinners (e.g., Taco Tuesdays)
- ADHD Summer Camps
There are also great summer camps for families with children who have ADHD.
ADHD Summer camps are a great way to provide daily structure, enhance social skills, and focus their attention on different physical activities.
In the end, summer is a time for fun in the sun! Planning ahead and staying organized can help to minimize stress. By using some of these simple strategies for ADDH/ADHD, you can adjust to the changing summer schedule in a positive and healthy way!
By: Alyssa Lee, MRC, CRC, LPC Intern
Supervised by: Dulce Torres, MA, LPC-S