My son was diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) right after he’d finished Kindergarten when he was just five years old. I didn’t know what to expect as far as his school life and our family life would go. Fast forward to a few years later, my son is a happy nine year old who is at the top of his class. I won’t lie to you; we’ve had a lot of ups and downs and I still have a few of the concerns that I did when he was first diagnosed. Sometimes I’ve felt like I’m losing my mind but in the end, I love my son and I know that I can handle whatever life throws at me and that includes traveling with an ADHD child.
Traveling with my son can sometimes be difficult. When natural resources didn’t help I knew it was time for medication. Well no medication lasts all day so it can make traveling difficult when your child is low key one minute and jumping all over the place the next. This article will detail a few things that can help traveling with your ADHD child a little easier. Just remember that no plan in fool proof so you and your child will probably still experience some stress, these tips are just to help smooth it down.
#1: Pack an Activity Bag
An activity bag is key. Whenever we go on a trip, I tell my son to pack a bag of things that he likes to do such as some of his favorite books, etc. Then I add to that by getting him a new book or an activity book along with a notebook and some crayons. It helps him along the way because he has something that will keep him occupied on some of the trip.
#2: Make Stops
As adults, we can put off stopping to use the bathroom or stretch our legs but kids can’t. If you drive non stop to your destination your ADHD child may start chopping at the bits to get out and stretch their legs. Try to stop at a rest stop or better yet, a park that is close to the road you are traveling. I’ve done this with my son from time to time when traveling and he always can sit a little stiller when he’s gotten to run around and play.
#3: Stay Calm
I think one of the most important things is to stay calm on your trip. Traveling is stressful in general so when you are traveling with your ADHD child, your stress can get a little heightened. Just remember that it is not their fault they have ADHD. They are looking to you to take care of them, they just might drive you a little crazy in the process. Take several deep breaths to refocus.
#4: Let Them Bring Something Familiar
Have your child bring something familiar on the trip. It can be a favorite stuffed animal, a picture of a friend or family member. This is especially important familiar if it is your child’s first trip. Let them have something that will be of comfort to them, that they can take out and play with or look at.
#5: Stick with your Routine
On a trip, everything is thrown up in the air but as much as possible, keep your child on a routine. When I travel with my son, I try to keep the meal times the same so he knows for sure when his next snack is going to be. That offers him some comfort and he knows what to expect.
#6: Don’t Overtire Your Child
As tempting as it is to travel all night or keep your child up late for an activity, you might want to reconsider. The more tired my son gets, the more his behavior gets out of control. He’ll fall apart at the slightest thing. As his Mom I don’t want to do that to him so I try to keep his bedtime at the same time so he can get enough rest.
Read more from Shannon Wilson:
Having a Child with PDD-NOS
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