The holiday season can be overwhelming for any child, let alone a child with ADHD or Autism. There is the anticipation and excitement for the holidays, having time off from school, days and nights of company, food, and so many other things. With all of these things to look forward to, this can also bring ciaos and even frustration to parents. Considering that children with ADHD and Autism thrive on structure, this time of change can be quite difficult for them. So here are a few things that can be helpful to get through the holidays.
1. Have a family schedule posted on the refrigerator or somewhere easily accessible to everyone. Use different colors to post visitors, family outings, etc.
2. Besides having a schedule posted, verbalize the plan of the day to your child.
3. Make sure to include down time for your child between events.
4. Have activities planned for when the child begins to get bored. This can be art activities (with new or unique items), games, watching a favorite holiday show. It’s important to have things pre-planned and prepared to go in a second before things get out of hand.
5. Have your child make table seating cards or signs for guest’s bedroom doors.
6. Have a pre-planned cooking activity for your child.
7. Make sure to continue behavior plans.
8. Review rules and consequences before going on an outing or having visitors. Explain to your child that other households may have different rules, and they will need to follow the rules of the home they are visiting.
9. Continue medication schedules, this may be a tempting time for a medication holiday, but this stimulating time of year is not the best time to do this.
10. Find time for physical activities with your child, perhaps taking a walk or even going to a pool to swim. Give them an outlet for their physical energy.