by A. Grano on June 3rd, 2012 at 7:00 am
With summer vacation in full swing, many families are still planning last-minute getaways or making final preparations for well-awaited vacations. However, for parents with a child that has ADD/ADHD, there are some recently discovered considerations to factor into travel itineraries.
Studies conducted at the Landscape and Human Health Laboratory at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign by Frances Kuo, Ph.D., suggest that ADD/ADHD children show less hyperactivity and distractibility when in natural surroundings.
Whether planning a vacation around a natural setting or incorporating greenery into everyday activities, exposure to nature has shown to be effective in reducing ADD/ADHD symptoms.
While this may not be the case for all children with ADD/ADHD, it may be helpful to be aware of how certain environments may influence behavior and modify activities accordingly in order to make the most of a trip or manage everyday activities.
First of all, be realistic about how the child interacts in different environments. Would the hustle and bustle of a big city cause too much stimulation, or would it be just the right amount of activity to sustain attention?
Parents, close relatives, or teachers have likely observed the child’s inclination, behavior and tastes from past experiences on family vacations or field trips. Keep those memories in mind when planning activities and either tone them down or mix them up to best suit the individual needs of your child.
When traveling, try to anticipate places or activities that are likely to trigger undesirable behaviors. Often times, these points can be avoided with a little preparation, such as doing a practice run-through of the airport with an anxious child, or packing an item that reminds them of comfort and safety.
It is sometimes just the perception of having control that helps a child with ADD/ADHD adjust to new situations with greater ease.
When unavoidable situations arise—such as a flight delay, traffic jam, or long lines at an amusement park—dealing with an ADD/ADHD child can become quite frustrating and draining. To settle the child and restore peace, keep a few no-fail distractions on hand like books, games, or portable electronics.
Try to include time outdoors in the presence of nature in your child’s daily routine. Whether it’s playing sports, volunteering in a community clean-up, helping out in the yard, or simply doing homework outside (ensuring that the setting isn’t too distracting) spending time outdoors on a regular basis has shown to have wonderful benefits for ADD/ADHD children.
Natural remedies can also provide quick relief. The herb Cina has been used homeopathically to relieve irritability, increase tolerance, and prevent temper tantrums.
Chamomila and Aconite also have similar soothing properties for children who are irritable and difficult to please, and help to promote balanced mood and lessen agitation.
Combined with conventional and natural remedies, time outdoors enjoying nature can be an effective addition to the lifestyle of a child with ADD/ADHD. There are no side effects, no costs, and it is relatively easily to implement.
Why not experiment with the most natural approach possible? Both your child and yourself could greatly reap the rewards!