If you’re the parent of a child with ADHD or Asperger’s Syndrome, you already know that meltdowns are inevitable. Children with ADHD and Asperger’s tend to become overwhelmed frequently, which often results in meltdowns.
To make matters a little more challenging, the holidays can often be the most stressful and overwhelming time of the year for everyone, including children.
Here are 5 tips to help you avoid holiday meltdowns.
Provide your child with a schedule of events so that he/she is fully aware of what the days will be like. The schedule can either be written or made with pictures for younger children. Be sure to discuss the schedule regularly and give your child as much information as needed.
2. Use a Code Word
If your child feels overwhelmed or needs a break, he/she can use the code word and only the two of you will know what it means. Using a code word allows children to have some control during busy times and activities, which works to reduce anxiety and stress.
3. Limit Decorations
If your child is easily over stimulated, it’s best to limit the amount of decorations displayed at home. Too many twinkle-lights or other decorations may cause sensory overload, which is guaranteed to lead to a meltdown, and that’s what you’re trying to prevent after all. Also, it might be wise to get your child involved in the decorating process so that he/she is participating in the changes that are taking place.
4. Have Family Meetings
Before leaving for any event this holiday season, have a family meeting to discuss how long you will stay and what type of behavior is expected. These meetings may help to decrease the amount of overwhelm your child may experience during the event.
5. Maintain Sleep Schedule
It’s easy to get off track with sleep during such busy times, but it’s important that your child maintain his/her sleep schedule as much as possible. Keeping as many routines as possible is a definite way to ensure that your child isn’t overwhelmed and stressed during the holidays.
As adults, we don’t often think that the holidays can also be stressful for children. They most certainly can be, especially for children with sensory disorders. Following these 5 tips will help your child avoid some of the holiday stress and overwhelm and will allow you all to enjoy the holidays that much more!
Dr. Amanda Itzkoff is trained in Psychotherapy and Psychopharmacology in New York, and can help you move beyond the frequent frustrations or limitations that may be caused by ADHD and Asperger’s Syndrome. If you are looking for more information on ADHD and Asperger’s Syndrome, please feel free to contact us via email. To schedule a consultation, please contact our office at 917-609-4990. .