[Mother asks] We’ve finally figured out a healthy balance for our ADHD daughter, but now the big Pesach vacation is nearing I am scared it will ruin everything we’ve gained up till now. In addition to that how should I contain her ADHD powers (excitement) all day long? Thanks for your help.


Great question. #1 B”H you have experienced this “scare-fear”. Why am I saying a crazy thing like that? Because fear is a natural indicator that we need to “prepare” towards whatever we are expecting. W/o it we would arrive there unprepared, taken for surprise, and overly overwhelmed. Take its message, and do something about it. It’s when we ignore the whispers of our nervous system that things tend to grow into big problems like anxiety, paranoia, depression [like chametz if you don’t pay attention to it, it rises.]

Vacation, what this is, is a period of transition, change. Often on the days when school is a halfday like Fridays and over the weekend it’s the same. The ADHD child, (adult ADHD’s also have difficulty with transition) had put out a lot of effort to create a schedule and follow through with it. A lot of cognitive thinking and planning were invested into making a routine. These are targeted areas of improvement.  As a parent of an ADHD child recognizing your child’s will and progress is a necessity. In addition to that you really need to share with her, and make it known to her that you recognize her efforts and success (EFFORT is SUCCESS) verbally and sometimes in a three sentence note just for her. It’s this kind of reassurance that will create an inner state of peace of mind. And it reminds the ADHD child that they are safe and accepted for who they are. ADHD people need lots of nice reminders of who they are in general and who they are specifically to you. Pay attention that this be done in a respectable fashion. For example sometimes it works very well if you make sure your child “overhears” you praising them to someone else over the telephone.

Prepare your ADHD child before the vacation in a small conversation. And you even want to make up with them that you want to have a few conversations, in different times. Break it down. Too much is less.  1) Let them know “on Tuesday you start vacation, I’m so excited.” 2) “Let’s brainstorm together trips, activities, minyanim you want to daven in etc.” Then, after you have approached this in a friendly  and fun manner (and if this is still the present atmosphere) you may want to ask him “hey would you like to make a small seder in              “. Let them choose what. Maybe suggest it to be learned with father or friend of their choice. And when dealing with an ADHD / ADD girl take the same friendly caring approach. Get them involved in the planning and let them decide, give them that sense of importance and at the end in an undemanding way and playing it down make your request like “Wow, Sarah that was a great game of speed you played, you’re quick – oh come help clear the table and do the dishes together with me we’ll get to spend some more time together and finish it up real fast. Sarah you are great at teamwork, and you make me feel great, you’ve been showing me how caring you are”.

In addition to this, take some time and envision to yourself a nice family-healthy vacation together. What could you all gain from this time together? Why would this be important and what would it mean to you, to your child, to your family in general?

Go for it, enjoy lifes most precious gift – your family. Remember the saying goes “families that play (plan) together stay together”.


Also try mapping out an agreed upon schedule, make a chart on paper and hang it on the wall or closet so that she could check in with it. Make it in accordance to their age. Let’s say for 12 year old girl*:

Wake up

10:00 AM

Things that my daughter wants to do.

In this area she should write down all of her ideas for this vacation.

Ex. Sewing, baking cookies, reading, friends, color etc. Then fit them in using one or two of them a day.


11:00 AM


11:20 AM

Take younger siblings to park

11:50 AM

Lunch / relax

12:30 PM

Detailed chore

1:50 PM

Makes up to get together with friend (maybe take along 5 yr. old brother)

2:30 PM

Home / relaxing reading book

5:00 PM


6:00 PM

Babysits or visits Bubby help her clean up a bit

6:30 PM

Prepares to go to sleep

9:30 PM


The key is to have structure. Friendly structure that is directive and allows flexibility.

By not planning to succeed we are planning to fail.