Summer is often thought as the time to relax — “freedom” from school and jam-packed after-school schedules. But for some kids, especially those with ADHD, autism, and other special needs who crave structure, that very freedom and the slower summer pace can be unnerving.
Here are five tips to help you structure your summer days:
- Keep to a schedule. Have your child wake up and go to bed as they normally would during the school year. Plan meals and snacks, as well as naps or rest periods, as close to their typical schedule as possible. This way, if you do make an impromptu outing to a special pool, park, or museum, they have some predictable points of reference throughout their day.
- Stay physical. Make sure that some form of physical activity and exercise are incorporated into each day. It helps with hyperactivity and is a great distraction to remedy any anxiousness about being away from school and regular teachers and friends. If your child has physical disabilities, try to keep up any physical therapy sessions just as you would during the school year.
- Organize frequent playdates. Have your kids’ friends over for regular playdates, or meet at different fun spots around town to stay connected. Arrange to have visits with a favorite teacher, or therapist, as well during the summer, especially if your child is returning to their care in the fall.
- Enroll in a class. If your child has always wanted to learn guitar, play a new sport, or try out sculpting, now is the time to do so. Ask them if there is anything new and different they would like to learn you maybe did not have time for earlier in the year. Check out options at the Austin Public Library, your closest YMCA, or the Austin Parks and Recreation Department.
- Adjust medications. Some kids, such as those with ADHD, take a break from medications in the summer when the need to be focused in the classroom is gone. Some kids do better though with their regular protocol, or perhaps just lessened doses, all year long. Discuss this with your doctor to determine what will work best for your child.
Have questions about your child’s ADHD medication regimen? Schedule an appointment with one of our physicians.