ADHD Families’ Guide to Holiday Joy

Stress, stress, stress! The calendar images of December should be a scene of a crazy person running through the mall instead of the winter tranquil scene, right?!
Do you have a long list of gifts to buy and wait until the last minute to do your shopping? Do you schedule back-to-back social plans and celebrate with gusto? Do you dislike the holidays altogether and prefer to hide in bed under the covers until January?
If you have ADHD, this frantic pace can create overwhelm you and your family.
STOP! Create an experience that is fun, rewarding and calmer for you, your family and your ADHD child or teen.
Start with a mindset of “SIMPLIFY, not COMPLEX-IFY”.
Holiday overwhelm comes from two main sources:

  • leaving things until the last minute
  • trying to do too much.

Let’s face it—everything takes longer than we think it does. If you start planning your tasks with that mentality and give yourself more time to do things, the process will go more smoothly.
Last-minute planning suggestions:

  1. Make a master list – then break it down into shorter ones, with no more than 3-4 different places in one outing. Map out where you need to go and group places together than are near each other. Teach your ADHD kids to do this too by explaining what, why and how you are doing things when you go out together to run errands.
  1. Schedule breaks – hot chocolate or tea can break up the trip.
  2. Cross things off your lists – do this yourself or ask your kids to assist you. It’s easier to see your accomplishments this way.

“Squeeze it all in” suggestions:

  1. Discuss the calendar with your family – Sit down with your family and decide how many things in a day people really can handle during the holiday season.
  2. Figure out what constitutes “down time” – be sure to include something that is settling rather than stimulating. Limit individual technology use and encourage quiet activities including playing games, reading, listening to music, or watching a family movie. Write down these ideas and post them on the refrigerator so people can refer to them when they are most needed.

Do you have other suggestions? Please share them with me.
Good luck and Happy Holidays to All!