How many of us long for our family summer vacations and then feel like they whiz by all too quickly? We return from our days off with that certain “I’ve just had a break glow” only to see it fade too soon and too fast. Vacations offer us a much-needed respite not only from our daily routines but also from the typical ways we interact. These breaks are especially needed by ADHD kids. They can really benefit from a different environment, meeting new people and taking time away from academics. Hopefully, you and your ADHD child or teen have also been able to have fun together. These positive connections enrich your relationship by nourishing the bonds that foster collaboration. Soon, however, your ADHD son or daughter will go back to school and you will be catapulted into the busy-ness of life once again. How can you keep the vacation glow alive?
Time functions differently for ADHD kids. They live primarily in the present don’t spend much time in the past. They focus on the future when it is immediately in front of them and they don’t tend to linger on the past. In addition, ADHD kids (and adults too) frequently have working memory deficits. This means that it can be hard to recall or hold onto things in their brain. Information that is recorded in the brain doesn’t transfer efficiently to long term memory storage. Furthermore, many kids with and without ADHD are so often distracted by their technology that they miss out on what is going on around them or forget about it when “an important text” interrupts their current activity. Thus, the glow from the vacation can evaporate much too soon. How can you help them stay connected to the benefits of time off and incorporate them into your home once you get home?
Try these tips to recapture and preserve the glow from your family vacation:
1. During a meal or other family time (for instance, being in a car is always a good time to talk because you are all there together), review some of the highlights of your family trip. Be specific. “That double chocolate ice cream cone was the best!” “I loved riding that big wave right up the sand.” Write them down if you can and maybe put a phrase or two around the house on post-its.
2. Together with your ADHD son or daughter, find some pictures or video from the vacation that illustrate or connect to those moments. Try to post some of these images in a common space in the house as well. Maybe watch a video clip or two. Allow yourselves to reminisce.
3. Share some stories about your family vacation with friends or family, encouraging the kids to participate (even with interruptions). The goal here is to rekindle the excitement of the original experience and keep it alive.
4. Do this periodically for the next month or two. It will help all of you remember what fun you had and the closeness you shared.
Enjoy your vacation!