Traveling with a child can be a demanding but great experience. You can take them for plenty of their ‘firsts’, such as their first time on a train or plane, their first time going to see another country, or state, and even their first time meeting friends or relatives in other locations. This is still the case when your child has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, and so while it may be more challenging traveling with a child who gets bored easily and is prone to hyperactivity, you shouldn’t be put off taking them on visits or vacations that involve traveling.
Here are some tips for your first trip with a child who has ADD:
Understand Their Behavior
It can be easy to get mad at a kid who is, as you might see it, acting up in public, even if you know that it is part of having ADD. Learning as much as you can about how they behave can help you keep calm. A lot of colleges like the University of Cincinnati offer an online behavior analysis program that you can study in your free time, which can give you a lot of insight into why children with ADD (and other learning difficulties or behavioral problems) act in certain ways and what the best approach is to dealing with them. If you don’t have the resources to do an online behavior analysis degree then it is still worth doing as much research as you can on the web – the more you understand the better you can support your child and stay sane yourself on a trip!
Boredom is an Issue
For someone with ADD, even adults, boredom is almost physically painful, and unfortunately, boredom comes along quite easily for them. Everybody needs something to do on a long flight or train journey, but for a child with ADD it is best if they can switch activities – watching movies or reading a book the whole way will not be enough to stimulate them. Consider bringing along a tablet with games, books and media loaded on it so they can keep themselves occupied in whatever way they prefer, however remember that even with all this to do, having to stay in their seat and wait until they arrive can be hard. Talk to them, play games with them, and discuss all the interesting things that are going on around you or will happen on your vacation as well as relying on technology.
Tell Them What Behavior is Expected in Advance
Another good strategy is to talk to them in advance about what is and isn’t acceptable so they can formulate coping strategies. Knowing that they can’t for instance fidget so much they are kicking the person in front’s chair on a plane, or run around, allows them to think about this ahead of time, rather than having you snap at them and tell them not to do it while you’re traveling.
Traveling can be a great experience for a child and those with ADD are no exception, but knowing about their way of thinking and their needs, giving them stuff to do and helping them prepare can make life a lot easier when you do it.