Traveling With A Child With ADHD

January 9, 2023.Shaun Fisher.0 Likes.4 Comments

Going to Silverwood is one of our favorite things to do. As a family, we make our annual pilgrimage to the park and always leave with many new memories made together. We have 3 children, and one of them has ADHD. Our oldest son is one busy boy with some very big emotions. He can be overwhelmingly happy and positive, and then a small misstep can change things quickly. In order for everyone to have fun at our party, we’ve had to make a few adaptations to make it work for him and for everyone else. Here are some tips that have worked for us.

My son adores this ride. My daughter, in the yellow, is on the fence!

First of all, schedules are still important. Luckily, Silverwood usually opens at 11 am, which means you don’t have to be up at the crack of dawn like other major theme parks. Try to keep your schedule similar to what your child is used to without adding or taking away too much from their regular routine. Of course, you’ll have to make some big exceptions here and there, but a common morning routine and a familiar bedtime routine (and time) seem to help my son each day.

Processed foods, sugars, and food dyes really affect my son, so we try to bring healthy snacks into the park and choose snacks wisely. That doesn’t mean we don’t splurge a little here and there, but when we do, we share it. That means he can still taste those unhealthy foods, but he won’t make a meal of them. A little popcorn, ice cream, and funnel cake spread throughout our stay ensure we all get a tasty nibble on something delicious without having a massive meltdown afterward. In between those snacks, we give him jerky, cheese, fruits, and of course, water.

Friendly faces all around at Silverwood! My son, Wesley, loves to greet this kind front gate cast member, who also shares Wesley’s name!

That brings me to my next point: keep those kids hydrated! I have to constantly remind my children to drink water while at Silverwood. They get so worked up on rides or water slides that they sometimes forget to listen to their bodies. Though we love those amazing refillable sippers, we also make sure we ask for free ice water whenever we can and add them to their water bottles, so they’re ready at all times.

Long lines can be hard on my child and everyone around him. We have had to leave long lines or avoid them entirely to get around this. Getting there early and hitting the popular rides first, then taking a break in the afternoon, and coming back in the evening is a great way to skirt around those sometimes daunting lines for popular attractions. We like to take our afternoon break with Nick and Amanda Norton in their amazing magic show, Phantasm. It’s air-conditioned and always a blast.

We try to be very aware of overstimulation while at Silverwood. With roaring wooden coasters zipping by, screams of guests on Stunt Pilot, music playing on the loudspeakers, and crowds pushing against you, it can be stressful for even the most grounded person on a busy, hot day. For my son, it can send him over the edge. Silverwood’s kiddie area has a place called Chrissy’s Garden. It’s one of the several quiet places in Silverwood where you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy some serenity. It isn’t hard to find nice, quiet places around the park, and that’s very much appreciated.

It may be tiny, but this coaster packs a punch!

If your child has severe ADHD or another condition or disability, you can also go to guest services and ask about their disability pass. Remember, this pass is reserved for guests needing accommodations the most, but if you feel that it is needed, don’t hesitate to ask. It allows guests and their families to bypass long lines and still enjoy the park’s rides. Though our son’s condition is not severe enough to warrant a pass such as this, it’s comforting to know that Silverwood provides such a pass. At the end of the day, it’s very apparent that the most important thing in Silverwood is that it’s a place for everyone to feel comfortable and have fun, regardless of their circumstances.

We also try to take a backseat and remind ourselves that it’s only a fun trip if the kids are having fun. If my son doesn’t love a long line, then we can ride his favorite ride (Corkscrew, which makes me dizzy!) as many times as he wants because it’s his vacation too. He doesn’t have to do every single ride. He doesn’t have to like what I like. It’s not just about avoiding problems when you have a child with ADHD; it’s about helping them navigate their world as smoothly as possible.

I consider each Silverwood trip a precious memory because it’s a park that has something for everyone. I appreciate the calming gardens, the beautiful landscaping, the music, the smells, the atmosphere, and the overall feel of the park. For these reasons and more, we have found that it’s an incredibly accommodating park for our very special boy, and probably your child as well.


Meet The Conductor

My name is Shaun Fisher and I absolutely love going to theme parks with my family. I’m an online Language Arts teacher and a father of 3 beautiful children. I started the website Park Padres so I could share my love of theme parks with others and give tips and advice when traveling with children. For me, a theme park is one of the best ways to have fun as a family!


Categories: Tips

Comments (4)

  • Tamie . January 9, 2023 . Reply

    Thank you for sharing! We use the DAS pass at other theme parks for our ASD kiddo. I didn’t know that Silverwood had a pass like that! It will definitely make things more accessible for our family.

  • Peter . January 9, 2023 . Reply

    Glad to know that these accommodations exist! I didn’t know that Silverwood had a disability pass. Thank you for all you do to support kids with ADHD!

  • Scott Ferguson . January 11, 2023 . Reply

    Everything we go to silverwood, we also have our Wesley meet the Wesley that works at silverwood!

  • K Marko . January 16, 2023 . Reply

    Great info! Best tip is planning ahead!

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