ADHD Summertime Blues
by Megan Dlugokinski
ADHD doesn't go away just because it is summer. Though that may sound obvious to some, there are others who feel that somehow it isn't quite as problematic because of the lack of school demands. Those of us who are parents of ADHD children know all too well that summer just creates its own unique problems.
I remember thinking as a child that summer was the best time of year. I didn’t have to worry about anything but having fun. I could sleep in and go to bed late which was my natural sleep style. I didn’t have any pressure to perform or have any deadlines. I was free to be who I was and just use my imagination on a daily basis. I loved to swim, play outside in nature, read books and write stories.
Turn the clock forward several years and now I have 3 daughters of my own. I find myself telling my mother that I now understand why she hated summers when I was a child. I was home ALL the time and wanted lots of attention and I was bored a lot. She also hated hearing “I’m hungry, what is there to eat” several times a day. Now that it is my turn as the parent of hungry and bored kids I agree with her – summer can be a nightmare for ADHD parents and children.
I have the added difficulties of being a single mom who has ADHD, and 3 kids with ADHD like symptoms. (None of them are formally diagnosed) So far it has only been a couple weeks into summer vacation and already I need a vacation away from them. It is such a conflicting feeling for me to actually want to be away from them but I know that for all of our sanity I need to take care of myself as much as I need to take care of them.
So here are some tips I’ve discovered to help keep yourself and your children sane for the next few months until school returns. You may just find that summertime is a joyful time again rather than a time to sing the summertime blues. OK I may be stretching it a bit, but wouldn’t it be nice if it could happen.
• Provide structure and routines. As much as we love our freedom, those of us with ADHD need structure or things will get very stressful for everyone. Of course there should be some unstructured free play time everyday too.
• Wake up and go to bed at a consistent time each day. Eat regularly throughout the day, limit TV and video games and encourage your kids to play outside more.
• “Mom I’m bored” syndrome. Boredom and ADHD can lead to restlessness, irritability and impulsiveness. Too much freedom can be almost as bad as none. Try to schedule a few activities each week so the children will have something to look forward to when they are having a boredom attack. Help them create a list of ideas they can choose from when they are bored and can’t seem to think of anything to do.
• Have a family meeting and ask each member what they would like to do for the summer. Plan some different activities that each person would enjoy. Try to do some fun things together that will create some great family memories. You’ll want to savor these moments for when the daily grind of the school year returns.
• Take time out for yourself and your spouse if you have one. Try to have one night a week for your relationship, or yourself if you are single. If you are married, you might also try taking turns watching the kids one night a week to allow the other one time alone to relax. If you are single get a babysitter or family member to watch the kids for you. It is more than just a luxury; it is a necessity to recharge your own batteries so that you have enough left over to care for the children.
But most important is to realize that life is supposed to be fun. You should enjoy summertime just like when you were a kid. Find out what works for your family so that you can relax, smile more often and enjoy being together.
Some free articles you might enjoy:
The Lighter Side of ADD
20 Activities to keep ADHD children busy
Here are a couple great ebooks to check out:
Get Control Of Your Child's Adhd! - Put an end to the tantrums, arguments and hassles. Create a better life for your child and peace of mind for you. In just 30 days!
101 Word Games to Play in the Car - A collection of all verbal word games for the whole family to play during short and long road trips.
Or Try this CD to help your child relax:
Old Me New Me - Stories and guided imagery on CD to help children and teens with anxiety, emotional and behavioral problems as well as negative thinking and feelings.