ADHD Kids Can Have a Great Summer with a Little Planning Ahead

Posted May 5, 2008 by

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Summer is that time every kid looks forward to. It is the “light at end of the tunnel” of a long school year. It is a time to “let loose” and have a great time. But for kids with ADHD this is a big change, and not always a positive one. The day-to-day structure goes away, the daily routine is gone. In just a few days or weeks, this long-anticipated break can become a potential nightmare for ADHD kids and their parents. Because fairly soon, these kids are going around whining and saying, “I’m bored.” They come in complaining about an argument with peers or they make a game of tormenting their siblings.

Luckily, with a little planning ahead, these and many other events can be avoided. Kids with ADHD still need structure, although it can be more relaxed than during the school year. A good tip is to use a calendar that shows upcoming activities. Make a collage of things they can do when there is no planned activity (like games, toys, books, etc) and tell them when they are bored they need to check it and select an activity and do it.

Plan intermittent structured activities such as day camp, vacation Bible school, various recreation programs (like tennis lessons, swimming lessons, a computer workshop, a children’s theater group or a summer sports leagues) provided by schools, churches, and community recreation departments.

Think about summer camp. If you decide this is a good idea, make sure the camp can handle ADHD kids and are willing to administer medications if your child takes them during the summer. Check out the list of Summer Camp Programs from CHADD. These camps are specialized for kids with ADHD and provide structure, fun and skill-building. For other possible camp suggestions, please visit the American Camp Association website.

Regardless of whether you send your child to camp or not during summer vacation, make sure you plan for family fun time. When parents get home from work, devote a half hour or so to play time. Play around your home; go to a park or some other fun spot. Have a family game night or movie night. Enjoy a hobby together. You can check out the Family Activities page from my ADHD website for more suggestions.

No matter what the situation, you can make it enjoyable and productive for your ADHD child by thinking ahead and providing a little guidance and structure to curb impulsivity and teach them how to create their own fun time.


Dr Robert Myers is a child psychologist with more than 25 years of experience working with children and adolescents with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and learning disabilities and is the creator of the Total Focus Program. Dr Myers is Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at UC Irvine School of Medicine. "Dr Bob" has provided practical information for parents as a radio talk show host and as editor of Child Development Institute's website, which reaches 3 million parents each year. Dr. Myers earned his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California.

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  1. mysnowbunny123 Report

    I think this is a great website with alot of information, and this article about summertime is great! Thank you!

  2. Camp Buckskin Report

    Camp Buckskin

    Our Program focuses on helping youth with social skill or academic difficulties (AD/HD, LD, Asperger’s and similar) to experience greater success. Our camper’s become more successful as they gain knowledge and improve key skills or abilities. This growth is directly related to changes in the mindset/attitude and the associated habits or behavior that have hindered their performance.

    Camp provides a structured mix of traditional camp and some academic activities each day, in addition to a comprehensive Personal Growth program which addresses social skill development. In this program we work to help our campers learn to build and maintain positive peer relations, to become more self reliant, to take increase responsibility for self actions, and to develop better problems solving/coping skills. As a result of this growth and changes, our campers return home with greater self confidence and strengthened self concept.

    Summer 2010 will be our 52nd summer helping youth to learn and grow. We invite you to consider how our program can help your child/student/client to change now which will benefit them for many years to come!
    We invite you to visit our website for more information or to contact us!

  3. Bob Report

    I would like a little guidance on how to use this BLOG. We have a son with ADHD and I have posted a question before here and never saw an answer. Also while reading the article on “kids can have a great summer, May 5th” I read some interesting questions posed by other readers. I would have like to see the answers to these questions, but like my own I don’t know how where to get them.

  4. Anne Report

    Why do adhd kids seem to argue with their friends,parents and teachers so much??
    My 7 year old son has this behavoir and I need tips on how to break the arguing habit.

  5. Shannon Report

    I’m planning to send my son to ADHD camp in NY this summer. It’s really expensive, but we wanted to give it a try. Last summer was so bad we all decided (my son included) that we wanted to try something new this year. I’ll let you all know how it goes!!

  6. Dr. Paul Report

    There are very few substitutes for good planning. Especially with ADHD kids, when they start to feel bored the brain is already disengaged from the productive thinking that could help to structure their activities. One of the clear challenges we face is to keep them thinking. I like the idea of having a variety of activities on a list or in a jar that they can draw from. Make sure to involve the child in the creation of the list, or it will be hard to get their buy-in when it is time to use it.

  7. Glenda Pharom Report

    I am rather baffled in raising an ADHD child My motto is routine, routine, routine! nothing every changes plenty hugs kisses compliments stroking but it don’t never seem to be enough this 10 yr. old boy always wants more more. I have learned a lot in the past 18 months but I find I still have to repeat, repeat, repeat, the same words and it seem very little catches on in his brain! some days great but most days back to repeating and repeating. Wow do they grow up to be responsible, productive people or will they stay in and out of trouble?? is there a good website about ADHD? still baffled!



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