Ten "Must Do" Tips for Holiday Shopping with Children with ADHD

Eileen Bailey Health Guide
  • Holiday shopping is once again upon us. Crowded malls, throngs of people, cranky children. It can be fun, it can be exciting, and it can be exhausting. For parents of children with ADHD, holiday shopping is always an adventure.


    Ten "must do" tips to help make your next shopping trip a little easier:


    • When giving your child directions, keep them simple. Give one instruction at a time or write down instructions if you must give more complex instructions. 
    • When talking with your child, make sure you maintain eye contact. 
    • Plan your shopping ahead of time. Have children make a list of gifts they will be purchasing. Use the internet for ideas. 
    • Plan shopping trips around normal daily schedules. Make sure your children have had their naps and eaten before heading off to the mall. Hungry and tired children can be irritable and cause unnecessary frustration. 
    • Discuss rewards and consequences before leaving the house. Explain to your child what is expected of him or her and what will happen if he or she does not behave appropriately. 
    • Bring along drinks and snacks if you expect to be at the mall for an extended period of time. 
    • Consider breaking long shopping trips into a few small trips instead. A child with ADHD may better handle a shopping trip for an hour instead of an all day shopping event. 
    • Praise your children when they are behaving in the manner you expect. Let them know you have noticed their effort and appreciate their good behavior. 
    • Use shopping as a way to teach children about budgeting, handling money and responsibility. 
    • As soon as you arrive at the mall, discuss a meeting place in case anyone gets separated from the rest of the family. Make it a place that is easily remembered, such as a favorite eating-place. Let your child know what to do in this situation and whom they can speak with, such as store employees, rather than talking to other shoppers. Role play situations before leaving for the mall to make sure your child knows what to do if he or she should become separated from the family. 

    Shopping signals the beginning of the holiday season for many people. Use this time as special family time and enjoy being with one another.

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Published On: December 02, 2008