Holiday Tips

Holiday tips When You or Your Child Have ADHD

Holiday Tips

When You Or Your Child Has ADHD


All of a sudden it’s a week into December – the holidays are coming, the holidays are coming!

For those of us with ADHD, or who are raising kids with ADHD, or BOTH – the holiday season can bring extra gifts our way. On the one hand the holidays can bring us joy, comfort, and love and on the other hand the holidays can bring us anxiety, meltdowns, and sensory overload. Plus we often have family issues, possibly mental health issues, or feelings of loneliness to manage. It can be overwhelming.

Here are a few tips for navigating the holiday season, while honoring your own needs.




Routines and Organizing

  • Keeping schedules as close as possible to normal helps reduce anxiety. Try to keep things like sleep, diet, and day to day routines as close to usual as possible.
  • Using tools that work for you, create a plan for the season that includes important dates or traditions that are important to you and prioritize those.
  • Put dates and tasks into your calendar or checklists.
  • Consider asking a friend or buddy to run holiday errands, swap child care, or be an accountability buddy.
  • If possible, create a separate area in your living environment for things like gift wrapping and storage.




Managing Expectations

  • Don’t overload yourself with things to do. Decide ahead of time how much time you can spend doing holiday things and try to stick with it.
  • Talk with your kids about the holiday season. Let them know what to expect, what routines might be impacted, and how they might feel. 
  • It’s okay to set boundaries with your friends and family members with relation to gift giving, time spent, and behaviors that you will not be around.




Emotional Regulation

  • Take breaks regularly – whether out shopping, spending time with the kids or family, or having fun at the company party, give yourself regular breaks
  • Remember that we ADHD folks are prone to Rejection Sensitivity Disorder, and often – our brains are outright lying to us. Try to remind yourself of that and examine your feelings with that lens.
  • Talk to your kids about feelings. Let them know how you are feeling and model emotional regulation. Talk with them about how to identify their feelings and collaborate with them to come up with solutions.
  • Reach out for help if you need it!  To a therapist, a coach, a pastor, a friend, a family member, or a hotline. There is help if you are struggling.




Sensory Safe Spots

  • Create places in your environment that soothe your senses. Away from overhead bright lights, loud noises, and clashing colors.
  • When decorating your house or office for the holidays, keep your family’s sensory needs in mind. You may need to avoid flashing lights, too many decorations, or even certain smells.
  • Help your kid create sensory safe spots. Include lighting, sound, and textures that are soothing to your child.
  • Have sensory objects available. For you or your child – many times having a fidget type of item that has some type of texture can be helpful or soothing. A smooth stone, a fuzzy piece of blanket, or even those little texture strips you can buy and put on things all are helpful.




Self Care

  • Try to find time every day to take a few moments for you. Take a few moments to breathe deeply or listen to music or take a hot shower. Or do an art project, take a walk, or watch a TV show. Some days it might only be 2 minutes – but find those two minutes.
  • Find ways to ground yourself.
  • Set and keep your boundaries. Try not to over-commit your time, your money or your energy.
  • Practice mindfulness and gratitude. Without pushing toxic positivity, be mindful of the things in your life that bring you joy, or that you are grateful for. Show the kids how to practice mindfulness, and model what self care looks like.
  • Take care of your core four (and your kids’ core four!)



As always, take what works for you and your family, and leave the rest. Every ADHD brain is different and every person with ADHD is going to experience it in different ways and have different needs.  The key is to keep trying until you find what works.  

I can help if you get stuck. I can help you establish boundaries, discover self care routines that work for you, and give you practical tips and resources for navigating the holiday season with less stress, even with ADHD.

Schedule a FREE, no obligation discovery call with me today!


Book with Me Today


I hope that you have an amazing holiday season. If you have any other tips to share, I’d love to hear them. Feel free to send me an email or post in one of the communities! I’ll be back next week with a blog about Creating Routines That Work!


Kat Sweeney, MCLC


🌻 Don’t Delay Joy 🌻

Kat Sweeney, MCLC



PS. In case you didn’t receive it earlier, here is my Gift Giving Guide – ADHD Style – download it today for ADHD gift ideas!




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