Family Gathering Survival Tips for Families with Hyperactive Kids

By Reprinted with Permission from Dan Boutote December 5, 2019

Children with ADHD and other hyperactive kids can have difficulty navigating family gatherings. This is especially the case during the holidays when everything is already a bit more exciting. Fortunately, family time and hyperactivity don’t necessarily need to be a destructive combination. Utilize these tips to make gatherings more manageable for you, the family and your child.

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Tell Your Child the Rules

Your first step should be to tell your young one the rules of where you’re going. They understand that your behavior varies based on whether you’re at a football game or church. Let them know this is also the case at relatives’ homes. Children with ADHD can become anxious in new places, so it’s best to give as much information as possible before heading out.

Give Advice to Family Members

During holidays and other family gatherings, it’s imperative for relatives to understand the situation at hand. They should always be aware of the struggles on your child's faces, but it’s also important to give them tips on what works in advance. If they know the triggers that cause issues and the coping mechanisms that help, they’ll be better prepared to spend time with your little one.

Plan to Have a Quiet Place

No matter how much you prepare for a family gathering, it’s still likely that things will become overwhelming at some point. When this occurs, it’s smart to already have a plan for some quiet time in place. Kids who face these difficulties sometimes just need a temporary escape. Plan ahead to have a room where your child can momentarily get away from all the excitement.

Reintroduce the Family Before Travel

Children won’t always remember their entire extended family. This is especially the case when visits only take place during holidays and other important events. Take time to reintroduce young ones to their relatives through pictures and memories. This will help kids with ADHD avoid becoming overwhelmed with too many seemingly new faces at your gathering.

Keep Realistic Expectations

Even with a great plan in place, it’s important to maintain realistic expectations regarding hyperactive kids. Have a strategy to ensure someone is always supervising them. These people should all understand the nuances of family time and hyperactivity in advance.

Kids with ADHD also need sleep to lessen the chance of anxiety, so get to bed early the night before. Work with what you know helps your child, and you will increase the chance of a fun family gathering.

Download Our Guide to Navigating Family Gatherings

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