Author Bio: Cristin Howard runs Smart Parent Advice, a site that provides parenting advice for moms and dads. Cristin writes about all of the different ups and downs of parenting, provides solutions to common challenges, and reviews products that parents need to purchase for babies and toddlers.
Having a child in your family with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD) requires you to plan your trip thoroughly and thoughtfully before going on vacation together.
Children who display behaviors associated with ADHD benefit greatly from being well prepared before an event or activity takes place.
Thankfully, going on vacation as a family takes a while to plan and prepare for, which gives you ample amounts of time to begin discussing the trip with your child.
Here are five ways you can make your family vacation one for the books!
Involve Them In Your Planning Process
Once you have your vacation booked, waste no time in telling your child about it. Light a fire of excitement in their minds by creating a countdown on your wall calendar, and cross off each day right before they head to bed for the night.
You can help your child to feel important by including them in the planning process of the trip. Ask them for their opinions on which snacks to pack, what clothes they might like to wear, or if they think the family should go out to eat at this restaurant or that. They can even assist you in choosing special activities such as a visit to the city’s zoo or aquarium.
Keep these discussions ongoing until the day you depart for your trip, and your child will be nothing but thrilled when they see their hard work planning pay off.
Maintain Their Schedule
Family vacations are notorious for throwing off a child’s routine, and the lack of constancy in mealtimes and rest schedule can throw any good-natured kid, or adult, into a fit of unpleasant behavior.
During travel and while you are at your destination, have snacks and meals prepared and stored away in a cooler. This ensures that you can feed your child at the times they are used to eating, and it will help their bodies to feel a sense of normalcy while away from home.
Enforce the same tactics for nap and bedtime. Pack your child’s favorite stuffed animals, pillow, blanket, or anything that surrounds them while they are resting. By having those familiar objects close, it allows your child to feel the comfort of their home and rest as well as possible.
During your travels, it is important to pack some special forms of entertainment for your child.
Before your vacation, head to the Dollar Store or Five Below and grab a few new toys to present to your child every few hours of the flight or road trip. Toys and objects that allow their hands to be busy are key to making the traveling bearable. Sticker books, stress balls, fidget toys, or musical instruments are great ideas.
Make plenty of rest stops during your drive and allow your child to engage in activities such as kicking a ball around, throwing a frisbee, or jumping rope.
If you are at a theme park, beach, or touring a city, plan to visit one main attraction every other day. This will allow you to use the in-between days to focus on your child while sticking to low key activities. Your child will get the most out of their vacation if their minds have a chance to recharge and rest.
Pack your roller skates and locate a quiet park where you can enjoy some physical activity together. You can engage your child in a game of tag or chase, or you can also bring along some sidewalk chalk so you can map out a road for your kid to follow along on their ride-on toys.
Pack a calming backpack that will stay with you at all times. Inside, have items that will help your child to relax if they begin to feel bored or upset about a situation such as standing in a long line.
Items to include are a variety of your child’s favorite snacks, a stuffed animal, a change of clothes, a device to listen to music, and a blow-up beach ball, that you can toss around, and is certain to throw your child into a fit of giggles.
Keep It Positive
ADHD may throw some challenges in your path, but it doesn’t mean that your family vacation has to be miserable. In fact, I believe that due to the extra panning and intentional consideration, families, with a child who has ADHD, are able to have some of the greatest vacations!
With a positive mindset and plenty of verbal praise, this will be a trip to remember.