We all have our breaking point. We have that one thing that tips us over the edge. Our emotional bucket is full and there is nowhere for the excess to go but spill over the top. And we blow! Recognise this scenario?
Easter holidays can be great. Loads of chocolate, Spring flowers and the opening up of amusement parks.
But these holidays can also be a time when your child may push you to a breaking point. Sometimes it’s all too much….
You may have a reprieve from the rush and frantic mornings of school. So I am sure you would welcome a few weeks of calm and happy times with the family.
But you need to plan and put things in place. Otherwise…….oh boy! Kapow!
Here are some tips for a happy Easter holiday:
1. EDUCATE FRIENDS + FAMILY
As you may know, I am on a mission to spread the word about ADHD and bust the stigma.
Your child has a neurological condition and their brains are wired differently. ADHD is not an excuse but it is a reason why your child behaves as they do.
They find sitting for long periods difficult, misunderstand social cues, may make inappropriate comments, may be impulsive and can be overwhelmed by sensory experiences. So sitting in a hot, crowded dining room or restaurant, with strange smells and too much noise and movement can be too much for your child.
An ADHD brain also needs stimulation. So if they are bored they will look for excitement. This may mean flicking food, finding out what happens if you add sugar to the salt pot, tapping the table or humming.
The consequence is that they will need to move frequently, take breaks from the room, bring their own things to occupy themselves, not take part, leave the table or even go home early. All these things are okay.
It is what your child needs.
If the expectation is realistic then all will be good. If the expectation is that your child will remain at the table, take part and be focussed, then your child is heading for a fall. They will get cross, annoyed, frustrated, and the lovely family gathering will quickly head into a decline.
So ahead of the gathering, send an email to everyone. Explain what your child needs and what is going to happen. Stand by these statements and don’t bend to pressure.
You may want to include this leaflet in your email to offer a simple explanation about ADHD:
2. MAKE A PLAN
Your child needs structure and routine. Without it they will be bored, irritable and in a state of unrest searching for excitement. They will default to a screen that is safe and predictable. But if they are part of the planning, know what is going to happen, then you may have more success.
So print out an April calendar from Google or make one in Publisher. Write down the key dates that things are happening. Plan outings, appointments and snuggle days.
It is also a good idea to plan each day. This doesn’t have to be fancy. Just make a list or draw a table and write out exactly what is happening that day and in what order. Use words or pictures. This way your child knows what to expect and they’ll be no surprises. It’s also a good idea to write something motivating to do that will come after something boring.
3. HAVE FUN
This is an opportunity to have time without the pressure of school (unless you have exams and that is for another blog…).
So use this time to have fun. Forget housework, paperwork and chores. Look up things to do on Pinterest. Google ‘Fun things to do’. There are tons of things that don’t cost money but you’re creating memories.
It is during this special time that you are building a great relationship with your child and they are more likely to tell you if something is bothering them.
Use this time to decide together how to resolve potentially difficult situations, like how long they should be spending on their XBox. All decisions should be collaborative and not a unilateral decision by a parent. Your child will be more likely to stick to rules and agreements if they are part of the decision process. Maybe join an online gaming session with them or watch a YouTube video.
You have to be the parent your child needs, not the parent you think you should be. Throw out the Traditional Parenting Guidebook (it doesn’t work for your child with ADHD)
Also remember, punishments do not work for our children with ADHD. Banning them, removing WiFi, grounding them, shouting nagging and criticism will make your child feel angry and resentful. Instead work out what is going on beneath the behaviour and together come up with a solution.
4. look after yourself
This is exhausting. So take time out for just you. You are worth it.
Do something little every day that lights you up, fills you with joy or makes you smile.
Don’t forget to stay away from social media. What you are seeing is not the full truth. People post what they want others to see. Most of it is not the real picture.
I hope those tips will help.
I wish you a lovely Easter break 🐰🐣🍫🌷
Let me know how you get on.