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Help for Parents of ADHD Children: 4 Tips for Surviving March Break

March Break at last! School is out, and for many families this means taking the time to enjoy the warmer Toronto weather, or heading off on a tropical vacation. But for those with ADHD children, associating “vacation” with “free-for-all” can be tricky.

“Dad, I’m bored!”

“Hey Mom, what can I do all day?”

You may have noticed that ADHD children often get bored easily and quickly. Where is their creativity and outside-the-box thinking when you really need it?

The fact is, when it comes to time off, ADHD children do best with a little structure mixed in with fun. So, if you follow a few simple guidelines, you may be able to avoid the complaints and get the most out of the break:

  • Plan ahead: Enlist the help of others in your family and come up with a fun itinerary for your child, whether you’re going away or staying in the city.We realize this is easier said than done – particularly since ADHD tends to run in the family – but the more prepared your child is for each day, the more likely you’ll avoid outbursts and disruptive behavior.

  • Schedule family time: An ADHD household is often hectic enough during regular school weeks, so take advantage of the extra time you have now during the break to bond as a family. Protect some time each day to spend together – you can talk about the day’s events, enjoy a late night snack together, or unwind with a board game.

  • Maintain some routines: In order to stay on track, the executive function of an ADHD child’s brain has to work twice as hard as it’s non-ADHD counterpart. So, by sticking to some of your child’s normal routines, such as at bedtime, you’re actually giving your child a real vacation.

  • Focus on boosting self-esteem: Since children most of their time at school, those with ADHD often exhibit low self-esteem when they struggle within the normal confines of the classroom . Give your child the opportunity to showcase their talents over the break. Hold a “family concert” for your budding pianist, or register your child for computer camp if they have a knack for technology.

Remember, parents don’t have to be 24/7 family entertainers! While structure is important for a child with ADHD, encourage them to use their imagination and creativity to explore new activities and enjoy the downtime of doing whatever they like. With your encouragement and guidance, your child will learn to enjoy down time naturally.

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This family likely does not have ADHD in the picture

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