Are your children off meds in summer?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Are your children off meds in summer?
Tue, 06-10-2003 - 4:48pm
I have a question. I talked to some other parents who had their children on meds for ADD temporarily, like until they turned 12 or 13, and they told me they only used the meds for the school year and in learning situations. But what about the impulsive behavior, which can continue on into the summer? Who, can I ask has their children on meds year round, and what is your reason and who takes them off their meds in the summer?? Thanks all for your input!!


Amy -

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-26-2000
Tue, 06-10-2003 - 10:05pm
We've reduced meds this summer, but not taken a total break from them. Focus was our main issue, and so last summer I only used them for swimming lessons and day camp (with BB guns and archery, focus is kind of a good thing ;-). By the end of summer, I was a crazy woman. Couldn't send them back to school fast enough. Until then, though, behavior at home had never been a big issue for us. And really, it wasn't the behavior at home that drove me insane, but the behavior any time we left home. I turned around during one shopping trip last summer and saw him standing atop the freezer case at WalMart. OMG! Definite impulse thing there.

This year, I'm using them for swimming lessons, baseball games, day camp, and any other time I feel they are necessary - such as a shopping trip to WalMart where a little impulse control makes things SO much nicer for everyone. Just about anytime we're around other people.

During the school year, he was taking Concerta. But it is a long-lasting med. If he would wake up late on the weekend and take it at 10:00 or so, he might be still hopping along at 1 a.m. So on "short" days or on school days when we have a 7:30 baseball game, the doc has given us a prescription for Ritalin (when we started meds last year, we'd used Ritalin) which has about a 4-6 hour lifespan - probably closer to 4 for us. So, so far this summer, we've mostly used the 5 mg of Ritalin which is just enough to take the edge off. (ALso WAY easier on the checkbook because a bottle of 30 generic ritalin cost me about $8, and 30 Concerta cost me $50.)

It's a personal decision. Some people feel that if the kids are ADHD at school, then those behaviors also transfer over to home (which is true) and if they need meds to function, then need them - period. Others may have side effects - such as weight loss - that they want to take a break from in the summer.

It is possible that by 12 or 13, some of the behavior issues have mellowed a little bit thanks to maturity and/or the kids learning a bit of self-control.



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Avatar for mjaye2002
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 06-11-2003 - 12:18pm
Hi Amy. My 12ds is on Adderall XR (20mg) during the school year, Monday thru Friday only. However, his ADD is on the low end of the scale, so to speak. He needs the meds to help him focus in school and help with being still in a classroom. His pediatrition set this schedule up when we first put him on meds, and he's done so well, we have never looked back. :)

We've had some difficulty with impulsiveness during the summers, but he seems to be learning to control it better every year. And talk, OMG, he can talk your ear off!! And he does seem to be louder off his meds. But, we just deal with things as they come up. (You need to be quieter in here; Hush just a minute, and let me finish this; Tell me what your chores are for today; etc.)

I had thought about talking to his dr about switching to Strattera, but I just hate to change meds when he is doing so well. Plus I like the fact that he is med-free during the summer, and we can work on behavior modifications without the meds.

We do hope to take him off meds completely, someday, but we will just have to wait and see on that.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-12-2003
Thu, 06-12-2003 - 10:22am
My child is 8 he will be 9 in July and I do continue to medicate him all year round. My reason is that I have to tried to give him medication vacations and he is much too impulsive, this behavior leads to many accidents and poor judgement, my pediatrician also agrees, he said that a child at this age that does not have ADHD does not always have the best ability to make good judgement and impulse control, so couple that with a child who has ADHD and you certainly have the potential for trouble. I like many parents have guilt feelings of medicating my child but he needs this medication ADHD is a brain disorder, my question to you is, if your child had diabetes would you discontinue giving him/her insulin, monitoring their blood sugar, and monitoring their diet during summer vacation, the answer would be no because the diabetic needs these interventions to keep from danger. I don't medicate my child because I "can't handle" him ( because I really don't like some of the side effects of the meds.) I do it coupled with behavior modification so that when he gets older hopefully he won't need to be on medication and will have the mechanisms to control himself and be a successful person. Good Luck.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-04-2003
Thu, 06-12-2003 - 1:41pm
Quentin is definitly medicated in the summer too. He is way to impulsive. He is so Hyper, it isnt fair to him to get in trouble all summer for things that right now are out of his control for the most part. He is 6 and on the high end of ADHD so really I think that each case is diff. you can always try it.

Good Luck!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 06-13-2003 - 8:44am
Hi, I'm new to this board. My daughter (age 7), just started Adderall (10 mg). My doctor recommended just using it when needed over the summer. For example, family gatherings or places where she needs to concentrate. I gave it to her yesterday because I took her to a movie.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 06-17-2003 - 8:46pm
My son will be 9 at the end of August. We give med vacations during the summer, but may use some meds for some events, as well. For the most part I've found that if he's swimming a lot and physically busy, he has less hyperactivity in the summer..and so it's dependant on that. I like him off it because he sleeps much better all the way around, and eats so much more.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 06-18-2003 - 1:12pm
My son's major problem is impulsivity, not learning, so he stays on his meds year round. I also work full-time and he goes to day care in the summer, and I cannot have him blowing up and acting out for a day care provider. He also says he feels better when he takes his meds, so we haven't ever tried a med holiday.
Avatar for iheidi66
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 06-19-2003 - 3:27am
I am keeping my kids on their meds year-round. It's not just an issue for them of learning, but also of interracting with others (including family members) and organizing themselves in daily life. The challenges don't stop just because school is out.

I also felt that it was important to keep some structure over the summer. I'm not over the top with an hour-by-hour schedule, but I still expect them to read for 20 minutes each day, and the TV goes off at 10 a.m. If they want to watch TV or a movie later, their window is from 3-5 p.m. Last summer I was too lax about TV and they watched way too much. They have light chores in the morning that are supposed to be done by 11:00 along with getting ready for the day. We go to library activities twice a week, and next month I'm adding an hour where we're going to review math and spelling. They are spending a lot of time outside. I'm finding that they're not even watching afternoon cartoons very much.

I know you didn't ask about the structure, but thought I'd add it because it is really helping as opposed to how things were last summer. I was in bed a lot last year due to stress-related illnesses and sleep disorders.

I can see the point of view of taking med breaks, but for my kids they (particularly my dd) need the meds to help them. My daughter's impulse control is awful without meds. We would spend the whole summer with her stomping and screaming if she didn't have them. On the other hand, since the meds help with that, it makes it easier for her keep working on her behaviors and keeping her room clean, etc. My son really needs the meds for focusing, and since we're still doing some academic stuff over the summer, I would be doing him a real disservice by taking him off of them. He himself hates not having it, because he can tell such a difference.



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