ADHD vacation advice might come in handy soon with the summer months right around the corner. Vacations can cause unique stresses especially for families with younger children or children with ADHD. Half of the battle of having a good vacation involves making a great game plan.
With kids, you have a lot to plan and potentially worry about. You need to make sure you plan out when and where you intend to eat and make time for naps if your children need them.
Outside of the logistics, you need to allow time for the most important part: having fun! We want to help make sure you do have fun. To help you build the best vacation plan, we've put together some essential ADHD vacation advice for every family's vacation.
Try to Stick to a Routine
As much as it may be difficult and as much as you might not want to even think about it, you still need to have a routine on vacation. Routines might not be the most fun at all times, but they provide structure for your ADHD child who needs limitations. An ADHD daily routine provides critical structure, even on vacation. Resultantly, any good ADHD vacation advice has to include keeping a solid routine.
Removing all routine might result in some disastrous meltdowns that can ruin your vacation. When planning out your vacation in advance, try hard to try to make sure your children get to bed around their normal time. Also, try to plan meals around the usual time you normally eat at home. This might be particularly challenging when traveling, so if you know you might be on the road when you would normally eat, be sure to pack a snack for the kids.
Focus on Packing Well
Speaking of packing, let’s talk about packing well. Many times when we plan vacations, we focus so much on what we plan to do and where we want to go that we end up packing at the last minute. Unfortunately, packing at the last minute tends to mean we forget what we need most. In order to manage ADHD on vacation as well as you do at home, you really need many of the items you have at home.
This means you need to plan ahead and strategize what you need to pack. For ADHD vacation advice, you should start packing several days before you even plan to leave. Packing in advance gives you the chance to plan slowly.
You need to make a list of everything you use on a daily basis for ADHD management. Go through your day and add everything you use on the list and mark off the items as you pack them away. After you pack, go back through your list to double check that you have everything.
In addition to listing out what you normally use at home, you also need to plan out any special things you need just for traveling. This could include passports or travel medication. Planning well pays off in the long run; so don’t put off thinking over every last detail. If you need help putting together travel lists, try out the following links:
Don’t Forget the Medication
A key ingredient of sticking to a routine and packing well involves the pivotal piece of making taking medicine a priority. Make sure you include plenty of medication on your packing list. Also, plan for the worst case scenario by packing more medicine than you would normally need.
To make ADHD vacation advice work for you you need to make sure you stay as close to your normal medication schedule as possible. Changing your child’s medication schedule can have many unforeseen consequences. Throwing off the normal medication schedule can throw off your child’s rhythm and everyone else’s fun.
To best help your child and yourself, make taking medicine a priority no matter what else might be going on. Keep in mind that you will need to do more than rely on your memory while on vacation. Set an alarm on your phone or watch to remind you the medication times during the day and while you’re out and about.
Also remember that traveling with medication can get complicated. Make sure that you follow the appropriate rules when necessary. Before you pack and travel with medication we recommend you refer to this article from WebMD on traveling with medication.
Watch the Sugar
When we travel, typically, the last thing we want to think about is when and what we plan to eat. You want to have fun on vacations. Part of having fun involves trying new foods and, of course, eating really unhealthy food.
We try to limit sugars and fats in our regular diet. Our vacation diet should be more free, right?
Yes and no. You deserve a chance to splurge just a little, but you still need to watch out. Sugar and ADHD do not go well together. That doesn’t change just because you’re on vacation. For ADHD vacation advice to benefit you you need to pay some attention to what your kids eat. Sugar can wreak havoc on your child’s ADHD symptoms in just a short amount of time.
You can allow some sugars and sweets and sodas, but limit them to no more than one food item each meal. Also, make sure you balance out any sweets or sugary foods with a serving of vegetables. Yes, you need vegetables even on vacation, and water, which brings us to our next point.
Drink Plenty of Water
In addition to watching your food, ADHD vacation advice needs to involve making sure you drink plenty of water. More than anyone, your kids need water. Many times on vacation, drinking water might be the last thing you think of. It should be one of the first things, though.
You can easily forget about drinking water especially when you get busy and distracted. Not drinking enough water can lead to headaches and create irritability in your kids and make ADHD symptoms worse.
Before you set off in the morning, make sure everyone has a full water bottle. Check in on everyone at least once every two hours to make sure that they both are drinking the water they have and have not run out completely. Making sure that everyone drinks plenty of water will make sure you keep ADHD symptoms in line and everyone has fun on your vacation.
Get Tons of Rest
For the parents, getting tons of rest sounds like the perfect vacation. For your kids, however, getting tons of rest might just be the furthest thing from their mind. Rest gives you energy and relieves stress; two things you need more than anything to enjoy your vacation.
Rest also helps keep your kid’s ADHD symptoms in check. Vacations naturally throw your and your kids' schedules and timing off track. Even while on vacation, you need to remember that sleep is important for your ADHD child.
To help your kids sleep, try to stick to their normal schedule. Also, try your hardest to limit foods and sugars late at night. Cut down on the screen time close to bed time and limit the noise when your kids go down.
While you might have little trouble sleeping on vacation, it might be a different story for your kids. If your kids have trouble sleeping, check out this article on helping your child sleep on vacation.
Use ADHD Vacation Advice to Help You Relax
More than anything, vacations should be about relaxing and having fun. Keep fun front and center by keeping stress out of the picture. Use the tips outlined here to help beat back vacation stress.