ADHD: Helping your child stay focused through summer
School is out for the summer and changes in routines may present a few added challenges for kids with ADHD.
While it is recommended for all students to remain sharp during the summertime by reading books and participating in educational activities, children with ADHD may need more supervision and guidance throughout the summer months. Parents are encouraged to create lists or set goals for their child to accomplish during the summer, and remember to review these lists with them on a regular basis.
Many parents often question whether or not they should take their child off of their ADHD medication during the summer months. This is not advised, as ADHD medications are needed as a facet of daily function—they improve attention span and fine motor control, and also decrease impulsivity. Dosage should not be adjusted either. The only circumstance in which a child’s ADHD medication routine should be adjusted during the summertime is if they are unable to gain weight, in which case parents should consult with their child’s doctor before making any changes.
Keeping a child with ADHD focused during the summertime does not have to involve hours of tutoring sessions or summer school. Keep them engaged through fun activities that focus on their interests. For instance, if your child enjoys painting or drawing, enroll them in a visual arts summer camp, or teach them math skills by having them volunteer at a local farmer’s market or run a lemonade stand.
Fortunately, Cone Health has an exceptional network of behavioral and developmental health professionals dedicated to providing excellent treatment to patients with ADHD, as well as educating parents and guardians of children with ADHD on how to make proper lifestyle and environmental modifications to help manage their child’s condition and encourage them to prosper.
Dr. Susan Farrell is a neurodevelopmental disabilities specialist and the medical director of Cone Health Developmental and Psychological Center. Dr. Farrell is board certified in both neurodevelopmental disabilities and pediatrics, and has been published several times for her research on pediatric development. She is a 1971 graduate of The University of Kansas Medical School. She completed her residency in pediatrics at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed a fellowship in neurodevelopmental pediatrics at Johns Hopkins Hospital – Kennedy Krieger Institute.