How to have the best ADHD Christmas with your children (in 6 easy steps)

So Christmas is fast approaching and whether you are a lover or a hater of this consumer explosion holiday, I suspect if you have an ADHD child, part of you is a little freaked out about having them home all-the-time for the holidays. 

So let’s get the dark side of the holidays out of the way... 

It can be a sensory explosion, with late nights, changes in the routine, too much sugar and the pushy Aunty who insists that red cordial is ok.... all whilst you grit your teeth and make jokes about them volunteering for babysitting whilst the red cordial wears off...

There’s the worry of a potential meltdown at *insert location* - we all know it is coming...

Plus we get tired, there is no relief of school or childcare and we have extra jobs and it is hot here in Australia and only our lounge room has air-conditioning...

Of course there is the fa la la la la stuff too. Seeing your children so excited on Christmas Eve and the joy in their eyes on Christmas Day. There is beautiful moments but for some of us this time can be overwhelming and exhausting.

So before we get too deep in the Silly season here is my six simple parent survival tips for getting through it without losing your hair:

1. Keep it simple and organised

Download a Christmas gift app. Put in all the names of who you are buying for and a budget and stick to it. Only buy for the big players in your life.  Or do what I do, send a group message to everyone saying you are only buying for children.  It takes out a lot of the leg work when it is just kids you buy for.

Do not, if you can help it, take your kids shopping.  If your children are anything like mine it is not their time to shine in a busy shopping centre!  Instead online shop.  Perhaps you could send a message out to your big players giving them a budget and asking them what they would like…. Money they say… perfect that is one less gift to buy!  I try and get all my shopping done before the end of November - so it is one less thing I have to think about. I avoid the shops or crowds in December.

2. Get your kids just one or 2 things from Santa - they don’t need all the plastic crap

I try to get one or two good quality things for each child.   More presents is just more mess in my house. I try and buy things that don’t have lots of little pieces that can get lost or end up in my vacuum.  If you do buy lego - also give them a storage box for it at the same time. 

If you can, try and get them something for outside, that encourages outside play like Laser X, an extreme swing, a vegetable patch, bike, crazy cart, surfboard, sensory things that don’t clog up your lounge room and your life.

3. Keep all the crazy numbers to a minimum

Buy now you probably already suspect that certain colours and preservatives may affect the intensity of your child’s ADHD.  I find it is best to avoid as much as I can for all my kids.  So I keep these to an absolute minimum.  It is as simple as checking the ingredients.  It is handy to have a few bags of safe lollies and chocolates in the house or handbag so if you go somewhere and there is crazy foods on offer your child doesn't miss out.

4. Stop trying to make everything magical 

Do you have fond memories of your childhood Christmas? Chances are you think they were something pretty special and I bet your mum didn’t stay up till 2am creating elaborate elf on the shelf scenarios. Your kids just want time with you - trust me they will remember this more!

5. Keep it retro

Make homemade cookies, reindeer food or whatever your simple Christmas traditional recipes or crafts are - pass down some of those family traditions. Work with your child’s limitations and make sure to praise them throughout for their involvement.

6. Allow your child to sit with boredom 

Scheduling your child to their eyeballs happens easily, but we all need downtime. Having homedays, no plans - are when imagination and creativity are born. Say no to things if you don’t want to go.  If you find yourself resenting going to things, it is a sure sign that you have overcommitted yourself - so start triaging your calendar.

I do love a bit of the silly season but I confess I am often a bit over it by the time the big day comes. But that is just what it is, one day, let’s keep the focus on spending quality time with our family.... memory making.

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