Skip to content

5 Little-Known Reasons Your ADHD Child Doesn't Enjoy The Holidays and How To Fix it Right Now

PRESENTS for your ADHD child.

An ADHD Child has a hard time with holiday's. These 5 reasons explain why, and what you can do about it.  The P.R.E.S.E.N.T.S. process can ease your child's holiday blues, and reduce your stress as a parent.


Increased chaos and decreased routine and structure

Let’s face it, most moms, love the holidays but are ready for January 1st to arrive. That's when the activity in the house settles down and they tell themselves that everything will get back to normal. While parents can handle the short period of holiday cheer, children with ADHD  struggle. Their brains require structure and order. Their little minds are taxed with chaos and clutter. The slight increase or disruption requires extra mental effort and fatigue.

Sugar shock and carbs

Sugar is addictive. Just ask the ADHD child who uses sugar to balance their dopamine levels. Dopamine is one of the principal neurotransmitters involved in substance dependence. So those extra candy canes, Hershey kisses and holiday party treats do make a difference. Sugar creates a surge of negative behaviors and causes brain fog, low or higher than normal energy levels, and even depression.

Increased busyness and decreased productivity

Kids with ADHD are less anxious when they are productive. Their anxiety is heightened when their mind has more time to “think”. While most children love “Polar Express Day," children with ADHD do worse on less productive school days. Just ask any principals office if their visit rate increases on these days and they will validate this sweet little fact.

Increased visual and auditory stimulation a.k.a., NOISE

Kids who have ADHD have difficulty sorting and grading stimuli, meaning that they absorb the noise and visual stimulation faster and more intensely then kids without ADHD. The holiday season brings extra loud voices, songs, parades, and dances. These small extras puts your child’s brain on hyper-alert to all incoming sensations and sets him or her up for increased anxiety and meltdowns.

Decreased down time

I like to use the analogy of a sponge. The ADHD child has a zest for life and have the power to soak up the world around them faster and more intently, but just like a sponge they can get over saturated and overwhelmed. Extra “chill time” is necessary around the holidays when meltdowns and landmines become more frequent.

Rather than dread the holidays, here is the best gift that you can give your child to make the holidays merry and bright!


Give them lots of P.R.E.S.E.N.T.S.

  • Patience

    Stop and remember why your child is acting this way and determine how to help in each situation.

  • Schedule

    Keep their routines as consistent as possible. You may need to change activities you'd prefer to do, but reducing your child's anxiety and yours is the goal.

  • Patience

    Stop and remember why your child is acting this way and determine how to help in each situation.

  • Respect

    Respect the extra time, space, and comfort needed during this time.

  • Expectations

    Review the bahvior you expect from your child, and well as plan for the day. Mark any disruptions from the routine on the calendar and provide daily reminders.

  • Respect

    Respect the extra time, space, and comfort needed during this time.

  • Encouragement

    Provide extra hugs, smiles and positive words. Re-enforce your child's self-esteem and value as a human being.

  • Nutrition

    Monitor sugar and carbs, and reduce their consumption. Bring extra protein snacks and feed them every 2-3 hours to balance and regulate low glycemic levels.

Overcome the struggles of parenting an ADHD child

Our online course launches February 2017. Reserve your slot and we'll notify you 2 weeks before it opens.


  1. Rob on December 14, 2016 at 10:20 am

    This was an awesome article. Great insights, Kyra