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Summertime Schedules

For many children and their parents, summertime allows for more flexibility. Bedtimes are no longer set in stone. Mealtimes get shifted to accommodate for fun summertime activities. These drifting schedules can be disastrous for the many children with ADHD who thrive on routine and structure. If your child does better with a routine, try to stick with some sort of schedule, even in the summer.
However, your summertime routine doesn't have to be identical to the schooltime schedule. For instance, perhaps you will allow a later bedtime in the summer, since there is no school in the morning. This is perfectly fine, as long as you keep a consistent bedtime as much as possible on a day-to-day basis. Whatever changes you make, though, remember that you will have to switch back when fall returns.
Speaking of schedules, summer is a good time to adjust your child's mealtimes in order to maximize appetite if he or she is experiencing a loss of appetite due to medications. Try encouraging a big breakfast before your child's ADHD medication dosage in the morning. Some parents find it less stressful to simply serve a few snacks during the day instead of a big lunch, particularly for children who lose their appetite during midday. In some cases, a later dinner may also help, and will fit nicely with that later bedtime you're considering.  
What if you've worked very hard to establish a schooltime routine that works well for you and your child? Consider keeping as much of that schedule in place as possible during the summer months, especially if you dread the thought of reestablishing that schedule again in the fall.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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