Thursday, June 27, 2013

If you are worried about Summer Camp!

Time for Summer Camp.

You may have spent March, April and May trying to figure out what your kids will do this summer.  By now they may be signed up for a plethora of camps.  Band camp, scout camp, church camp are just a few camps that parents send their kids to for the summer. You can spend a lot of time watching the weather channel trying to figure out what is the best chance to send him or her for camp.  Will the pollen count be too high or will it rain non stop?  Who is the best counselor to put them in with? How many can's of bug spray will they need.? The list of worries goes on and on.

Congratulations! If  you found yourself worrying about all these things and more, then you are probably a pretty good parent.  That being said, stop it!  Just stop, OK?  Let us simplify things just a bit.  Start with the basics.

1) It's almost July.  If they don' go to camp they will end up spending the next two months playing video games and probably getting grumpier and grumpier.  Then, if they haven't already, they will drown you in a chorus of "I'm bored."  So they need camp (If you aren't sending them to camp please check out the column from last year on "Fun Free Activities")
2) Most camps now have websites and can give you a list of what to bring and not to bring.
3) You can't control the weather.  If the weather service is predicting a 'torrential hurricaines, downpours and flash flooding' all week long you can go ahead and cancel and eat the loss of deposit.  Otherwise, pack some rain gear, a couple of good books an extra set of batteries and hope for the best.  Any competant camp counselor will be able to find fun safe activities to keep them busy on a rainy week... expect them to come home and tell you about playing wink em or murder (it's a game not a crime!)
4) Water bottles and sun lotion are good and gameboys, i pads and other electronic gizmos are bad! (unless, you sent them to gaming camp...occasionally confirmation camps do something like this to try to engage the kids....I know, but you gotta do what you gotta do!)
5) Don't send snacks unless you send for everybody in the entire camp.  Why people choose to ignore this is beyond me. It has got to be some sort of Maslow-ian security issue that hasn't been resolved by the parent.
6) If you are worried about missing them write them a letter in advance so they can get it the  second day of camp.

There is a ton more advice but the biggest is this.  If you have confidence that they can handle camp that gives them confidence that they can.  If you are anxious and fearful, that will make them anxious and fearful.  So reach for  your bag of self reassuring statements and remind yourself that you have given them the tools they need to make friends and handle new situations.  If you haven't, camp is a good place to start.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Medication Holiday's for the ADHD Child???

Parents often ask about summer vacation and stopping medication during the summer.  That question is always tricky.  I recently saw a statistic (sorry, I cannot remember where, I will keep looking and update when I find it.) that indicated that ADHD kids who go on medication holidays have a high rate of emergency room visits due to burns. That is always the concern with medication holidays.  Impulsive kids need to be monitored when they are off their medication.  They need to be monitored more closely than other kids particularly in the summer.  The medication is not just there to make them behave in the classroom.  It is there to help them keep their bodies under control.  Yes, the medication does have concerning side effects and it is nice when we can give them a break but the summer is full of danger and lets face it, you want to let them run without yelling at them constantly.  So if you and your Doctor decide to give them a medication holiday, make sure you increasing the structure and monitoring when you do.

Medication Holidays for the ADHD child
We desire to let them be
We want to let them run
We want to set them free.
To let their body's grow
To give their hearts a rest.
The years been long and hard
and they probably did do their best.

Just remember that the disorder isn't gone
because the books are put away.
The impulses still run rampant
and it's a long summer day.

It is not just fire,
that fascinates the child
and lurks and lures his whims.
A summer without supervision
can become quite grim.

It is firecrackers and older kids
whom he must impress.
It is  bicycles and the neighborhood teen
that drive just a little too fast..
It is all the fun you've ever thought of
and all the fun you didn't.
when you were just a child.
Now that is what I call risk!

So take some time to consider
all the pro's and con's.
Take the time to reconnoiter
What's beyond the closest pond.

Enjoy the heat of summer
Enjoy the rest from school
Enjoy the confidence of supervision
and rest when summers through.