Hectic Holidays and Behavior


Often, holiday time can be hectic and stressful. If your child has executive functioning issues or ADHD, their behavior can cause additional difficulties. Thoughtful planning and adjusting your own expectations can help your family navigate the holidays more successfully.

Read on to learn more about how to stay cool, calm and collected during the holiday season.

  1. Pick and Choose Holiday Events.

    You do not have to accept every invitation you receive. If your child tends to get over excited, over stimulated and eventually burn out, think wisely about the events you will attend. Think about the time of day the event is scheduled and when your child is at his best. Is a large crowd expected? Will there be enough activities for your child to engage in? It’s important to think about the environment, the activities available and what else you’ve scheduled, when planning your holiday events.

  2. Bring Entertainment With You.

    If your child gets bored easily and thrives on constant activity, bring along some entertainment - pack a bag of activities for your child. Depending on their age, items could range from crayons and coloring books to headphones for listening to music. If your child tends to be more active, bring along a ball that she can kick around outside with other kids.

  3. Give Your Child a Job.

    Many kids with ADHD or executive functioning issues do their best when they’re given a task to complete. Ask your child what she might like to do to contribute. If you are hosting a gathering, your child might take pictures of the guests or be in charge of hanging up guest’s coats.


4. Shop Smart.

If self-control is a challenge for your child, a trip to Target may lead to a major meltdown. All of the advertising, lights and holiday hype can result in whining and nagging for toys or treats. When shopping with your child, create a list in advance of what you are planning to purchase. Keep this list handy as you shop, while gently reminding your child what you are there to buy. If the whole in-store experience is too overwhelming, shop online! No crowds or long lines to wait in.

5. Give Small, Immediate Rewards.

During holiday time, it might be tempting to use holiday gifts as leverage. Instead of making comments such as “Behave or Santa won’t bring you gifts!”, try a different tactic such as “If we can put the dishes away together now, we can make holiday cookies for tomorrow’s party”.

Wishing you a very happy and healthy holiday season!

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Every student has a different learning style. For an individualized plan customized to your child's needs, please contact Dana Aussenberg at danaaussenberg.com or email dana@danaaussenberg.com.