Surviving the Holiday Chaos: Best of the Web

The holidays can feel chaotic, claustrophobic, and just downright crazy. This is particularly true for ADHD families.

Fortunately, there is a lot of great advice out there on how best to approach the festive season so that you can truly enjoy this special time of year. Here are some of our favorite articles and videos from around the web offering tips and tricks for staying happy and healthy during the holidays.


“A Christmas list for families dealing with ADHD” - By Dr. James M. Lewis, The Washington Post

Great practical tips from a parent who also happens to be a behavioral pediatrician and a father to a child with ADHD. He shares his thoughts on medication during no-school days and on whether or not to let your child sleep in.

“When the Tinsel Hits the Fan: How to Prevent Holiday Meltdowns” By Ana Connery, ADDitude Magazine

Dr. Hallowell shares his holiday survival checklist with ADDitude Magazine, including making sure to take much needed time-outs and creating a “peace zone” where your child can retreat from the hoiday hubbub.

“What NOT to Get An ADHD-ER For Christmas” By Jessica McCabe, How To ADHD

The super bubbly and always hilarious Jessica McCabe tells it like it is when it comes to gift-giving for loved ones with ADHD. For example, clothes with itchy fabric are never great, but especially terrible for someone with ADHD.

“11 Tips to Help Kids With ADHD Manage the Holidays” From Understood.org

Understood.org offers 11 fantastic tips for staying (relatively) sane during Christmas vacation, including the tip to “give your child a job” so that he/she feels a sense of purpose and pride in contributing to the festivities.

“The Family Gathering: A Survival Guide” By Rachel Ehmke, Child Mind Institute

When gathering with family and friends over the holidays, many parents feel extra pressure for their children to be on their best behavior. This can lead to anxiety and stress at a time when you should be enjoying yourself. This article from The Child Mind Institute provides useful tips and reminders for how best to handle these occasions while maintaining realistic expectations.


One of the running themes throughout all of these articles is the need for both children and their parents to TAKE BREAKS during the winter holidays. Fight the temptation to say “yes” to every single event. Don’t feel the need to achieve perfection (store-bought cookie dough often tastes just as good as homemade 😉). Embrace the fact that your house is just going to be a bit messier than usual. Most importantly, make sure to carve out time for yourself, whether it’s a short neighborhood walk, a hot bath, a yoga class or simply a catnap on the couch.

In the words of our Coach/Therapist Molly Filer:

“Take a mini mindfulness break! Stop a minute (or 5!) and simply notice your breath. This is not about trying to stop yourself from thinking, but rather to slow down and bring yourself into the present moment. Likely you will notice your mind wandering a lot—for example, to the to-do list or to an interaction you wish had gone differently.

When you notice thoughts such as these, simply say to yourself "thinking" and then gently redirect your attention to your breath. This simple exercise can have a relaxing and recharging effect, and is a great practice for parents themselves, or to teach to your kids.”


From everyone at the Hallowell Todaro ADHD Center,

Happy Holidays!