Tips for Managing ADHD Over the Summer

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University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children'sExperts in Children's Health
Father and son playing soccer in park together

Managing your child’s attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be challenging, especially when your child’s normal school routine is absent. By following a few tips, you can enjoy smoother sailing ahead.

“Summer break can be a positive time for you and your child with some planning to maintaining structure,” says Elizabeth Diekroger, MD, Developmental Behavioral Medicine specialist at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s and Assistant Professor, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. She offers this advice:

  1. Set a summer routine. Even though they aren’t in the classroom, children with ADHD still need structure during their day. A regular wake-up and bedtime schedule is especially helpful.
  2. Get active. Keep the amount of time your child watches TV or uses a computer to a minimum. Instead, encourage them to get active by playing outside or with friends. Physical activity can help keep ADHD symptoms in check.
  3. Keep choices simple. Children with many options may feel overwhelmed or overstimulated. If your child is choosing between activities or toys offer a choice between two.
  4. Maintain school skills. Help maintain your child’s academic skills over the summer. Set aside a regular time to read, write or practice math. Keep activities short or break them into small sections to help your child maintain focus. Incorporating your child’s interests can help make this fun – you can do math with sports scores or read about favorite players.

Dr. Diekroger also notes that paying attention to your child’s positive behavior may help them stay motivated, just like when your child is in school. “Kids with ADHD benefit from immediate feedback. For some kids, a sticker chart or token board can be a helpful way to encourage desired behaviors,” she says. “Your praise and attention are also great ways to reward your child.”

When it’s time to head back to school, make sure your child has their supplies in order. Check that they have what they need, then keep backpacks and other materials in their designated spots.

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Learn more about the resources available at at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital's Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics and Psychology. if your child has ongoing patterns of difficulty paying attention, being overactive, or acting without thinking that significantly interfere with home or school life, our experts are here to help.

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