ADHD Parenting: How to Make the Most of Summer Break

School’s out for summer. A question I am often asked is, “How do I plan summer activities for my kid(s) with ADHD?”

Although the answers to this question can be different for every child, there are some general considerations for summer activities. Think about SMART Goals when considering summer activities for kids with ADHD.


First, take into consideration activities your child(ren) with ADHD enjoys or activities they have discussed wanting to pursue. Many summer camps have early registration/limited spots available, so you may want to start discussing specific activities with your children during the spring. 


Rather than enroll your child with ADHD in a new sport that they may have to continue throughout the year, if this is your first time structuring summer activities for your child, you may want to consider time-limited activities/events. Some may be for a few hours, while others may take up half the day. Some have options for an overnight stay, while others do not. 

In determining the number of activities, consider the need for transition time between activities, for both you and your child(ren). Some people love back-to-back activities, while others may need a few days or even a week or more off in between. Some people would prefer one activity for the whole summer, while others may want to try out many different types of activities. Do what is best for you and your family. Discuss these options with your child(ren). 


This means both you and your child believe the requirements associated with the time and events of the activity are reasonable for your child(ren) with ADHD. Consider the amount of time away from home, the intensity of the activities, the amount of other children expected to attend, the environment (indoor/outdoor) and confidence associated with whether you and your child(ren) with ADHD will likely enjoy the activities.


Both children and adults with ADHD will be more likely to succeed when the activity in which they are engaging is relevant to a specific goal they have for themselves. This could be related to wanting to improve on a sport, musical instrument, wanting to learn something new to be more independent, or related to a possible career they might pursue. Be sure to find connections between the activities and relevance to their own goals.


For activities, time-bound can refer to the length of the activity over the course of the summer. This can be associated with time spent relevant to the entire summer break, activities during a particular week, length of time each day spent doing the activity, and the structure of each day. 

For people with ADHD, especially if they have not participated in an activity in the past, they would benefit from speaking with someone who has participated in it, especially if they are familiar with that person. Other times it can be beneficial for children to be shown different online resources that provides information about expectations for the activity including descriptions and pictures.

Resources (National) 

Youth & Young Adult Programs (U.S. National Park Service) (

National Summer Camp Guide |Things To Do With Kids (

Programs - Big Brothers Big Sisters of America - Youth Mentoring (

Check your local chapter for summer camp availability:

Discover Summer |

Summer Camp as a Growth Experience for Your Child – SOAR (

ADHD Summer Camps: Programs for Kids with ADD and LD (