Five tips to help you survive the holiday season if your child has ADHD

Are you dreading the holiday season? Here are five tips to help you survive it if your child has ADHD.

Some families face distress and upheaval when schools are closed for the holidays with the lack of routine and extra stimulation including increased visitors to the house, last minute shopping trips, anticipation of opening presents, Christmas parties, and the excitement of Santa. 

Instead of feeling jolly and magical, parents who have children with ADHD might be feeling a sense of dread and apprehension.  

Trethowans
Trethowans

What might complicate things even further is that parents with ADHD children may suffer from ADHD as well, creating overwhelming feelings of disruption for everyone. 

Five tips to help you survive the holiday season if your child has ADHD

It is easy for adults with ADHD to feel overwhelmed and irritable and short tempered at this time of year but there are ways to help reduce these feelings so that everyone can enjoy their time together.  

To help everyone feel more festive goodwill, the experts from Equazen have five tips to help  families with children with ADHD survive this holiday season. 

1) Create a holiday routine/schedule

Even though there is no school run and set schedule, like in school, create a daily calendar, and stick to it. This also includes setting a reasonable bedtime every night.  

2) Stick to three healthy meals a day

To encourage good nutrition, involve your child in planning and preparing meals and encourage experimentation with ingredients and sourcing recipes. Ensure they get enough Omega-3 in their diet and it’s important brain food. Sp offer oily fish at some mealtimes. If your child won’t eat oily fish give them a daily omega supplement.  

If your child has some sugary foods try to keep them close to mealtimes to reduce the sugar high that can occur if eaten away from meals. This is a good way to negotiate with your child that some sweet foods are allowed at the right time. Do not be too hard on yourself if it doesn’t always work but get back on track the next day.

3) Plan structured activity ahead of time

If possible, try and make plans before the holidays begin and involve your children in these plans. It is important to choose activities that they would like to do otherwise you risk boredom settling in which could cause some unwanted behaviours. 

4) Keep the rules simple and top-of-mind

The holidays are a busy time for visiting with friends and family, but it is important to remind your children what standards of good conduct should be. So keep the rules clear and simple and consistently remind your child of the expectations. 

One idea is to create a few ‘reminder-cards’ with the rules at Nana’s House or at the big family party on Boxing Day and review them before you go in. And, don’t worry if you need to take a break and review them mid-event. 

5) Get a daily dose of exercise

As tempting as it can be to cosy up inside watching festive moves in your pyjamas, this can just store up trouble for a child with ADHD. Scheduling time for a daily walk or some form of exercise is really important to help calm impulsiveness and hyperactivity, so make sure you get a daily dose of exercise.

Evidence shows that having good levels of Omega 3 oils such as Equazen liquid or chews can help to reduce symptoms of ADHD.

Photo by Greg Rosenke