5 tips to rescue your holiday from ADHD

ADHD and holidays just don’t mix. Impulsivity and a lagging sense of time can wreak havoc on a much-anticipated, highly-stimulating holiday. We nearly let ADHD ruin our Christmas last year, but I refuse to endure a repeat performance. I am going to take some lessons from that fiasco and practice some preventative maintenance this year. We can all use a large dose of preventative maintenance.

  1. If Daddy wants to sleep by the tree and guard the gifts, you might consider letting him. I wanted to give Luke the benefit of the doubt and I didn’t want to sleep alone on Christmas, so we set rules and went to bed like always. But impulsivity got in the way and Luke was opening packages, alone, at 4:30 am Christmas morning 2009.
    We are traveling this year and we’ll wake together in a hotel room on Christmas morning, so I’m not worried about sneaking packages. I am distraught that waking up on Christmas morning in a hotel room without even a tree or a few twinkling lights will not feel like Christmas, but not worried about preliminary gift opening since we will be awake the minute he is.
    I have been thinking about what we’d do if we were going to be at home for Christmas though (since weather could postpone our travel plans). It’s tough. I still don’t want Daddy sleeping by the tree. I am wondering if leaving one present for each of them in their rooms that they could open without us and then wake us after would work. Maybe that would get him beyond the overwhelming desire to finally be able to open presents after two-months of retail Christmas buildup. We want Luke to learn to override his impulses and make proper decisions, which he can’t do without the opportunity and practice.
  2. Learn to say “so what?!” The holiday will not be idyllic with an ADHD child (or any child in general for that matter). It’s a time full of over stimulation and little to no normal structure. It exacerbates all that’s undesirable about ADHD. If your child opens a present or two without you, say, “so what?!” If they sneak a few cookies or swipe a finger full of icing off the cake, say, “so what?!” If they can’t sleep due to overwhelming excitement, give them some Melatonin, and say, “so what?!” It’s just a few days and, in the grand scheme of things, a few rules broken for a few days aren’t a big deal and certainly aren’t worth ruining the holiday over. Say it with me, “so what!?”
  3. Don’t take your ADHD child’s indiscretions personally. They don’t intend to flat out disobey you as it may seem in the disappointment of the moment. This was a big lesson learned for us last year. We stormed through the morning with “why can’t he just…?” attitudes and it only made everyone upset. Remember that there’s a Ferrari engine with Flintstones brakes inside that cute little head.  They aren’t disobeying you to get a rise out of you, they just can’t put on the brakes sometimes. Yes, we need to teach them to, but we can’t expect perfection from any child.
  4. Keep praising them. It may be harder to see appropriate behaviors during the holiday and break from routine, but you have to continue to praise them. My favorite is “I like the way you are…” or “I like it when you…” It’s always more effective to catch them being good.
  5. Don’t forget activities for your kids, besides being showered with gifts. Try to plan something that is a typical part of your schedule or let them pick something that is suited to their needs and special just for them (a trip to the do-it-yourself pottery studio to build with clay maybe). Be sure to schedule free time too — a tight schedule that is out of the norm will exhaust everyone. We all need some time to key down, especially during the holidays. Try to stick with therapy or OT appointments to keep some semblance of routine. Having a routine and sticking to it greatly minimizes the complications of ADHD



Above all, keep focused on the wonder of the holidays — enjoy family and friends, and surround yourself with joy and laughter.

COVER3D_400sq_bestsellAward-Winning Blogger. Freelance Writer. Author. Warrior Mom.
A self-described “veteran” parent of a son with ADHD, Penny Williams is the author of the Amazon best-seller about her parenthood in the trenches, Boy Without Instructions: Surviving the Learning Curve of Parenting a Child with ADHD. She is also the creator of the award-winning website, {a mom’s view of ADHD}, a frequent contributor on parenting a child with ADHD for ADDitude Magazine and other parenting and special needs publications, and co-founder of the annual Happy Mama Conference & Retreat, a weekend away for moms of kids with neurobehavioral disorders. Look for her second book, What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting ADHD, in late 2014. Follow Penny at http://BoyWithoutInstructions.com.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Flickr YouTube 

Related posts:

feature, NEWLY DIAGNOSED, parenting/FAMILY, Penny Williams ·

About the author

COVER3D_400sq_bestsellAward-Winning Blogger. Freelance Writer. Author. Warrior Mom. A self-described “veteran” parent of a son with ADHD, Penny Williams is the author of the Amazon best-seller about her parenthood in the trenches, Boy Without Instructions: Surviving the Learning Curve of Parenting a Child with ADHD. She is also the creator of the award-winning website, {a mom's view of ADHD}, a frequent contributor on parenting a child with ADHD for ADDitude Magazine and other parenting and special needs publications, and co-founder of the annual Happy Mama Conference & Retreat, a weekend away for moms of kids with neurobehavioral disorders. Look for her second book, What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting ADHD, in late 2014. Follow Penny at http://BoyWithoutInstructions.com.

5 Comments

  1. Lisa says:

    “a Ferrari engine with Flintstones brakes…” Perfect description, Penny! I need to use that one! Thank you for your wit and insights! Happy Holidays!

    Reply
  2. Wowee – I just read the post you wrote about last year's Christmas and I HOPE this year goes a ton better for you! I totally get both your husband's and your reactions. Very tough. Last year was actually our first decent Xmas – the first year LittleJ said thank you for anything (without being told to) and acted happy with his presents. Years past he threw everything on the floor saying how much he hated it all…between that and literally destroying all his gifts and half his brother is really doesn't help mom or Santa want to ever bring anything else, does it? But last year was better and hopefully this year will be, too. We should all think good thoughts for each other this holiday!

    Reply
  3. Kirsten Battaglia says:

    GREAT article!! I experienced some of this today in my son's classroom party. I was the arts/crafts director and he had two other classrooms to visit before finishing in his own classroom with crafts. With all the sugary foods they doled out this a.m. by the time it came to following a 4 step art project he became tearful and completely out of control. It made my heart break. Fortunately I was there to be able to help him through it. And in the end he had a finished product he was not happy with, but I was. He wanted it thrown away. I put it away and brought it home. He doesn't need to know that I kept it and that I will treasure it as another moment that we were able to share. Good Luck all you awesome Mama's during the holidays!

    Reply
  4. dancilhoney says:

    What a great article you have here. I just want to share that Synaptol has been a MIRACLE treatment for my daughter. Her grades increase.

    Reply
  5. Love these tips, Penny. I will say that my personal philosophy is that Christmas and the other high-stress holidays are about being a family and spending time as a family. Therefore, we don't pack our schedule or go crazy off routine. We are quieter, more together, and more relaxed as a resulted. It is a reprieve from the stress of regular life.

    (We also only do a handful of gifts per kid, which minimizes the crazy-excited-out-of-control Christmas morning.)

    Reply

Leave a Comment

The "ADHD Mommas" are not medical or mental health professionals, nor an ADHD coach. Any opinions shared here are just that, opinions. I, and the other "ADHD Mommas," are sharing our experiences with our own ADHD children. Please do not re-post or publish any content or photos without a link back to {a mom's view of ADHD}. Have the courtesy to give credit where credit is due. Copyright protected. All rights reserved.

Powered by WordPress | Customized by KW Design