Holiday Visits and Kids with ADD
*If your friend or relative knows nothing about Attention Deficit Disorder, or they only know the sensationalized view of ADD from the popular press, get them some informational articles.
*For some people a picture really is "worth a thousand words." Educate them about ADD, and have a few laughs at the same time. If you don't already have one, get a copy of ADD and Loving It!" This documentary can give serious facts in a way that is entertaining. Letting people know the fact about ADD is important, especially if your child has behavioral issues.
Priming is nothing more than letting people have a preview of what is to come. Tell both children and adults what to expect from the visit. This strategy lets everybody be more comfortable by understanding expectations and some of the problems that ADD can cause.
*Kids need to know what is expected of them on the visit. Talk about roadblocks that could cause problems. Brainstorm ways to overcome the roadblocks. Let children express their particular requirements. You also need to set enforceable limits with your kids.
*Adults need to understand that kids sometimes have behavioral difficulties with Attention Deficit Disorder. The kid isn't trying to get away with anything. A child who is struggling with hyperactivity needs to move. Give them a genuine reason to move around. Those kids with inattention might need more than one gentle reminder. They are not (well, in most cases!) being deliberately disrespectful by ignoring requests. Saying critical things about their attention span doesn't do anybody any good. It just lowers the child's feeling of self-worth.
Lower the Stress Levels
If you have a high-energy kid, don't expect him to sit quietly for hours on end.
*Meet your friends or family members on neutral ground where the kids have something to do. This could be a bowling alley or a children's museum. Find a place where everybody can have a great visit. Protect Aunt Emma's knick-knacks. Don't take a kid who is a toucher and mover over to her house. Take him someplace where Aunt Emma can watch your little bundle of energy be creative and full of the joy of exploration.
Rest and Nutrition
Holidays are filled with events and different foods. Schedules that usually work to keep the chaos at bay are scrapped for the spontaneity of the moment during the holiday season.
*Don't forget to make sure everybody has plenty of rest, especially before a lengthy event. A tired and cranky kid with Attention Deficit Disorder is nobody's idea of a good companion!
*Make sure that the whole family pays attention to eating well. Yes, the season seems to demand that we eat tasty foods that we don't usually eat. This includes too many carbs, sugar, and fats. Enjoy these special foods in moderation. Eat sensibly at other times. Have a balance of carbs, fiber, and protein with a moderate amount of sugar and fats.
With a little planning everybody can have a great time at a get-together. If you find yourself dreading going to an event with your kids, then plan ahead of time how to make it a success. Nobody wants their good time destroyed; you don't and neither do your kids.
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