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Summer Living with ADHD

How to take advantage of this time to “put energy in your tank”.

When ADHD is part of your family life, you might have some mixed feelings about summer time. On the one hand, it may feel like a relief to step away from stresses related to school and homework. On the other hand, you may have concerns about how to help yourself and your family cope with the many transitions and changes in routines that summer brings.

To make things more complicated, as Canadians, we are often so excited for the weather to finally be nice that we have a tendency to over hype and over commit with our summer plans. Beware of the temptation of trying to fit too many things into your family’s schedule this summer and consider actively planning time for “rejuvenation”.

Our top 4 tips for slowing down this summer:

1. Reduce the number of transitions per day

During the school year, transitions are constant. Getting to school on time, managing extra-curricular activities, navigating a busy schedule...for many families, children and parents feel like they are structured all of the time. There is always somewhere to be, and something to do. This summer, wherever possible, work to slow down that voice - the one that so often says “what’s next”, “not now, honey”, and/or “maybe later”. By working to actively step away from that treadmill, and by reducing the number of to-dos and tasks, you may be amazed at how “in the moment” you can be.

2. Use time in nature to connect with yourself and those around you

Nature can have a magical effect on us, if we let it. Whether sitting by water, or laying in the grass, if you can work to put yourself and your family in the way of nature, it can beach blur camper 386000 small“slow you down”. Children rarely say they are “bored” of throwing rocks in the water or finding sticks in the woods. They too are transfixed by the outdoors. It’s been a long winter and it’s time to breathe fresh air and feel grass or sand between your toes. And remember, you don’t have to go far... even just lying in your backyard or in a local park can do the trick.

3. Make a commitment to “unplug”

Being on our phones (parents and children alike) can take more out of us than we realize. Our brains get used to the habit of checking in and getting a quick “hit” of information. When we are constantly on social media or looking for entertainment from our devices, our brains are not permitted the time to be creative, and we are not getting the time to feel secure in ourselves and in our family units. We are always competing with outside voices. It is so important to reduce screen time in the summer, whatever that looks like for your family. Perhaps it is taking a week off screens altogether, or turning your phones off when everyone is home. Whatever form it takes, know that your whole family needs it (and that includes you!).

4. Consider working with a coach/therapist

When stress is down and spirits are up, it can be a really important time to do social-emotional work. Sometimes people think that coaching and therapy should be kept for the school year, but we often find that our clients are able to delve deeper into goals that aren’t related to school when they are able to commit to support during the summer months. We often look for help when we are feeling our worst, but can do some really important preventative and sustainable work when we have the time and right headspace. Developing a rapport and working with a professional when your vibe is open to it can make a huge impact as you move into the busy fall months.


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