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Holiday Chaos and ADHD Children

The holidays are stressful for anyone, but for kids with attention deficit issues it can bring even more extreme sense of stress to their beautiful minds. If you are traveling to relatives over the holidays, it can be very scary for your child since it disrupts their normal routine and they do not get to see the family you are visiting very often. Not to mention, all that excitement can be extremely overwhelming for them. I have found some tips to help prevent holiday breakdowns to keep your ADHD kids feeling happy and able to create some amazing holiday memories:

1.Plan ahead to help keep as much routine or structure in their lives as possible. Look at your schedule and decide how your days will be spent. Which days will you be attending parties, decorating, visiting friends or family and set up a schedule. Build some flexibility into it just in case your child does need some downtime. Making sure to remember when they may be playing with other kids and if they will need to take a break to re-group.

2. Teaching self-control is key for your child to be able to prevent an overreaction from becoming a total meltdown temper tantrum. Share, show and rehearse some easy relaxation techniques that they can do anywhere or at any time. Things like breathing exercises, yoga moves, acupressure points or having them count to ten forward and then backward to get their brain and body to calm down. Let them know it is ok to ask for help at the onset of a conflict with another child. When at a relative’s house and your child is expected to sit at the table for an extended period of time, whisper to them “I know you can do this. It will only be a short time, but you go this.”

3. Schedule your time wisely. Too many events can be overwhelming and over stimulating to your child. Look at what is on tap and decide what is most important for you to do this holiday and don’t overload your schedule. Private playtime with one on one fun for your child and another is great for you and the other parent. Spending time together in a quiet place in your house or taking a quick walk can stop a tantrum very quickly if you need it.Also, if you are spending time with relatives, choose to stay in a motel and not at their house. This will give your child some safe space away from all the commotion. Let your family know why you chose to do this so that you don’t hurt their feelings.

4. Encourage good behavior whenever you catch it. This will remind your child of their strengths and increases their confidence that they can manage the chaos that comes with the holidays. Some kids are able to use their hidden talents like reading a joke book or doing magic tricks at the holiday gathering and they were able to transition through the visit a lot easier.

5. Involve your child in all activities. By asking them to help you make the cookies or set the table you are letting them know you trust them and this helps to build their confidence. They can help create the table decorations or even wrap gifts. This will also strengthen your bond with your child.

Hopefully these tips will help you have a magical day with friends and family. Remember, this time of year is all about love and not perfection. Create a wonderful holiday and a new year filled with love, laughter and moments of joy.

What tips can you share that have worked with you and your family around the holidays?

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