With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it can be overwhelming to navigate through with a child who has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). From all the extra activities, people, and excitement, it can be a challenge for your child to stay focused and manage their energy. But fear not! There are plenty of strategies that can help you get through this festive season with your kiddo in tow.
Supporting your child with ADHD during the holidays
The holidays can be a stressful time for any family, but it can be especially difficult for those with children who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterised by difficulty focusing and paying attention, impulsive behaviour, and hyperactivity. It affects millions of children (and adults) worldwide and while there is no cure, there are ways to manage symptoms during holiday periods.
Understand your child’s needs
The first step in helping your child cope with the holiday season is to understand their individual needs. What works well for one person may not work as well for another, so take the time to get to know how your child responds best to different situations. Consider how they usually react in certain environments, how they interact with other people, and what activities help them stay focused. Once you have an understanding of your child’s unique needs, you can better prepare for potential challenges ahead and handle them in a more appropriate manner.
Creating a routine
The key to success is structure – especially when it comes to managing a child’s ADHD symptoms. Establishing a pre-holiday routine is essential for both your child and yourself. This doesn’t mean rigidity; however, having some sort of plan or schedule may provide comfort and stability during times of change.
Try setting reminders on calendars or phones to make sure everyone stays on track. For this strategy, created a holiday planner to fill in for my (soon-to-be assessed) ADHD child to map out everything we have planned for the holidays. We included all the seriously mundane tasks (even my smear test,) the seriously overwhelming ones (Christmas day itself), and the seriously fun ones (day with cousins!)
Download your own calendar and map out your holiday period so everyone knows what to expect.
Stick to your rules
Some children with ADHD have difficulty following instructions and rules. This is especially true during the holidays when there are so many exciting events happening around them. However, it’s important to remember that you should always stick to your house rules even if there are special occasions like Christmas or Hanukkah. If you want your children to behave in certain ways, reinforce those expectations and remind them of their boundaries regularly – and reward them when they show good behaviour!
Take breaks throughout the day
It’s natural for kids with ADHD to have trouble sitting still for long periods of time. With all the holiday activities, shopping trips, family gatherings, etc., it’s easy for these little ones to become overwhelmed or overstimulated quickly. To avoid any meltdowns or outbursts during this season of cheer, try spacing out activities throughout the day and build in plenty of breaks in between them – even if they’re just 10 minutes here and there. This will give your child time to recharge their batteries without feeling like they have missed out on something fun. It will also give you some much-needed breathing room!
Keep calm and carry on…
The holidays can be stressful enough as it is – let alone if you’re caring for your child who has ADHD too! Don’t let this daunting task discourage you from making memories this year; instead, use these tips as strategies for navigating through this festive season successfully together as a family unit! With proper planning and patience (lots of patience!) from both parties involved, there’s no reason why this Christmas won’t be one full of joyous moments shared between parent and child alike!
Last Updated on August 11, 2023 by Lucy Clarke