Prepping Your Child with ADHD for Summer Camp

 ADHD Weekly 2016-06-02

In just a few days from now, your child will be headed off to overnight summer camp. It’s an exciting experience, along with an opportunity to practice social skills and meet new friends.

Whether your child is going to a scout camp, one sponsored by your family’s faith tradition, an art and enrichment camp, or a specialized ADHD camping experience, here are some pointers for helping your child pack.

Continuing treatment for ADHD

If your child will be taking medication during the summer, contact the camping program ahead of time to find out the camp’s regulations concerning medications. Like schools, summer camps generally don’t allow children to carry their medications or keep medications with their belongings. If necessary, talk with the camp or program nurse who will be onsite while your child is there. Find out how medications are administered and at what times during the day.

Supply the medication in its original prescription container. Your pharmacy can supply you with a duplicate bottle so you can send the amount required for that camp. You may need to include a copy of your child’s prescription to be kept by the camp’s medical office. Check as far ahead of time as possible so you make arrangements to have these ready when it’s time to go.

Read over the packing list

Your child’s camping program should send a packing list of needed items. Review the list with your child and break it into two lists: items your child already has and items that will need to be borrowed or purchased.

While it’s tempting to add items to the list, keep in mind personal space is limited and some programs require campers to carry their camping supplies for long hikes. Pack only what is needed.

Label everything

Make sure you or your child labels all of her clothes and gear with her name and an email address in case it gets lost. Clothes, towels, and utensils can all look very similar. Especially if your child tends to lose or forget items, a name and email can help those items come home at the end of her trip. Be realistic in your own expectations of what will come back from camp. Remember not to pack precious items. You want your child to have fun at camp and not have to worry about losing Great Grandpa’s pocket knife.

Print out a daily routine

Most camps will make copies of the daily schedule or routine available. Printing a copy, or two, for your child to take with him to camp and talking with your child about what to expect can help him stay on track and know what to anticipate during the camp day.

General packing list

Most camps provide a packing list, but if yours doesn’t, here are some common items and clothes to bring:

  • Bandanas, a baseball cap, or sunhat
  • Shirts, camp shirt
  • Pants, shorts, jeans
  • Sweatshirt, jacket, raincoat
  • Swim suit, cover-up, towel
  • Underwear and pajamas
  • Sturdy sneakers, boots, or shoes
  • Books and letter writing materials
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Reusable water bottle or canteen
  • Towels
  • Blanket, sheets, pillow, and pillow cases
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Bathroom and toiletries kit
  • On-the-go hand sanitizer
  • Sun protection
  • Insect repellent


Summer camp is an opportunity for your child to explore different skills and ideas, while developing confidence. Role playing with your child some common activities and helping her to prepare to meet new friends can help her be ready to enjoy her time away.