Halloween is almost here and the stores already have the Christmas and holiday decorations out. It will all be here before you know it.
A big part of the holidays are the family gatherings and holiday open houses, not to mention school events.
It’s easy for any one of us to get stressed out this time of year – there’s so much going on and expectations are so high.
If you’re a kid with ADHD, the holiday atmosphere can make it hard to stay on your best behavior.
Families are so much busier. Life is so much busier. There are more activities and things to do.
And just think about being in a mall at Christmastime and having ADHD. If you can’t focus in a quiet classroom, imagine how you would feel there.
Here are some ideas to help your child get ready for the holidays and get through them without misbehaving.
Limit the amount of activities that your child or family will participate in. You need a night or two spent at home each week, and preferably no more than one activity per day.
Identify the times when your child is apt to act out. Do they get bored visiting your elderly aunt? Are they out of control in large gatherings? Think about it and then come up with a plan. Maybe some things can be cut out or cut short. Maybe your child can attend briefly and be taken home by a sitter. Yes, we all have things we do because it’s an obligation, and children should learn that as well, but perhaps the holidays are not the best time.
Come up with coping strategies. Maybe you can arrange for a quiet place for your child to escape to if things become overwhelming. Perhaps a spare bedroom or in another part of the house. Talk to them about what it feels like to be overwhelmed so that they recognize the signs. Maybe you or someone else can take them for a walk or you could get them home early. Teach them things like breathing exercises and be sure to listen if they tell you they want to go home.
Be sure they are getting enough sleep. Getting enough sleep can be challenging for kids with ADHD. During the holidays it’s even more important that they have enough rest.
Pay attention to their diet. The holidays are times when we overindulge, especially on sugary treats. While there is no proof that sugar makes ADHD symptoms worse, it’s still a good idea to stick to a healthy diet right now.
Keep things as normal as possible. Try to stick to your daily routines as much as you can. Kids with ADHD benefit from routine and stability. Do what you can to keep things on an even keel.
Don’t emphasize the material aspect of the holidays. Children can get overexcited and overstimulated at Christmastime and may blow their expectations out of proportion. Focus on things like giving to others and family time instead.
Give them chances to just laze around or blow off steam. Make sure there are lazy days when there’s nothing to be done except whatever you want. And encourage some time outside playing and just working off some energy.
With a little planning and diligence on your part, your ADD Student can have a calmer and more peaceful holiday season. And that’s a gift for everyone.