Common Thanksgiving Challenges for Kids With ADHD

by Lexi Walters Wright


As enjoyable as Thanksgiving is for some families, it can often be a difficult time for kids with ADHD to manage. That’s especially true if the holiday involves gatherings and long sit-down meals. Here are some typical trouble spots and what you can do to help.

Interrupted routines

The problem: If you’re traveling for Thanksgiving, your child may be sleeping in a strange place and following an unfamiliar schedule. Even if you’re hosting, your family’s routines may be disrupted. That’s rough for kids with ADHD.

What to do: Stick to your child’s routines as much as possible. Try to arrange travel or visiting schedules so that your child eats and sleeps at the usual times. And prepare your child in advance for any disruptions you foresee. Give an overview of what will be happening beforehand. Then remind your child at each stage what’s coming next.

Waiting for the big meal

The problem: When the whole holiday is centered on a single meal, waiting for it can feel like an eternity for some kids. They may become bored or cranky, which can lead to arguments or tantrums.

What to do: Before Thanksgiving, ask relatives to help line up some morning activities. Maybe a grandparent or an uncle can take your child to the park. Older cousins can set up a family game for the younger kids. Let the kids know in advance what will be happening when. This way, dinner won’t be the only thing to look forward to.

Read the entire article on