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Prevention Presents: Seasonal Celebrations with ADHD

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Helping Children with ADHD
Celebrate Seasonal Holidays

Donna Bacon, M.Ed., LSC
Prevention Education Specialist

Special events like holidays often mean parties at school and at home. For children diagnosed with ADHD, impulsivity, disorganization, difficulty focusing, forgetfulness and restlessness are all daily struggles. And while many of these behaviors are managed daily at home and school, special events can create more challenges for these kids and their caregivers than usual. 

Children with ADHD may become over-stimulated at special events (think classroom parties, sugary treats/candy, obnoxious decorations, costumes) – especially since they are surrounded by other children who are also excited. This additional stimuli can make kids who tend to be overactive and impulsive lose self-control, sometimes in a big way.  Additionally, many reports indicate that some of the chemicals and dyes in candy can trigger negative reactions or interfere with ADHD medications.

Fortunately, there are plenty of things that can be done to make sure possible problems don’t rear their ugly heads.  Lawrence V. Tucker, M.D. has some fantastic tips:

  • Before a party, talk to your child about the excitement they will feel. Remind them they will feel a lot better if they take deep breaths, slow down and enjoy the day.
  • Do your best to limit the amount of candy or sugary treats they have in one sitting.
  • Make sure to feed your ADHD child healthy food. Give them a filling breakfast and send fruits and vegetables for snacks in their lunch. Make it part of the deal—as long as they eat the healthy foods so that they will feel better, they can enjoy some candy or treats later.
  • Set limits. There is no need to hit every party. Supplement time with another fun activity.

Any child, diagnosed with ADHD or not, will experience feelings of hyperactivity after eating excessive amounts of sweets. While research does not find a connection between sugar intake and ADHD, it should be limited for all children to decrease risk of cavities and obesity.  Research has found, however, that a balanced and healthy diet can be very beneficial to your ADHD child.

Paying special attention to your child’s diet and preparing them ahead of time for parties can prevent outburts for all.  For more information about nutrition and ADHD, check out the links below. 









   marymacek blueborder

What's Good About You?
Mary Macek, MAHE, MA, PCC
Clinical Therapist III 



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