ADHD Home > ADHD Summer Survival Guide

Summer certainly means a change in your child's schedule and activities. If your child has ADHD, this prospect may fill you with dread. However, it's easy to survive summer, provided you have a plan. It could involve a medication break, summer camp, or many other options. Just keep safety and your child's possible need for structure in mind, and everyone will be fine!

Summer and ADHD: A Love/Hate Relationship

For parents of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), summer can be both a wonderful time and a miserable one. The nice weather often means more opportunity for kids to play outdoors. The break from school means a break from worrying about grades, papers, homework, teachers, and classmates. However, summer break also means long days with your sometimes-difficult child. It often means medication changes or breaks, which can wreak havoc on any sort of summer enjoyment you may have planned.  
 

Trying a Summertime ADHD Medication Holiday?

Many parents attempt giving their children an ADHD "medication holiday" (a break from ADHD medications) during the summer months. Generally, parents try a medication holiday for one or both of the following reasons:
 
  • To avoid side effects of the medications. This is particularly true for children who experience a loss of appetite and weight loss or slow growth on stimulants. Parents and healthcare providers often view the summer as a time to "catch up" on growth.
 
  • To see if the child has outgrown their ADHD and to see if medication is still necessary.
 
No matter what your motivation, talk with your child's healthcare provider before embarking on an ADHD drug holiday. If you do decide to give it a try, be willing to give it an adequate trial. Don't give up after just one day. One day is simply not long enough to adequately assess any changes.
 
Also, be willing to give in if it's really not working. Once it becomes obvious that a drug holiday is making everybody's lives miserable, it's okay to scrap the idea and go back on medication. Everyone will be much happier. Talk with your child's healthcare provider about other ways to deal with side effects.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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