5 Ways to Survive Christmas Shopping with your ADHD Child

December 13, 2013 by Dr. Yannick Pauli

In an ideal world, all parents with ADHD kids have the luxury to hire a babysitter while they get their holiday shopping done. But the reality is that a family’s Christmas budget has no space for such a luxury. Sometimes there’s little choice but to bring your child with you during your shopping trips. Here are some ways to make Christmas shopping less stressful for you and your little one.

Discuss expectations beforehand

Before you hit the mall, sit down with your child and bring up the behaviors you expect from him. Let your child know that he needs to be at your side at all times. If your child is old enough, he can wander around the mall by himself provided that he meet you at a specific time and place.

Hit the stores after lunch

A child that isn’t hungry will be more cooperative and behaved. Make sure your child has a full meal before going to the stores. Bring small snacks and drinks to give to your child in case he gets hungry in the middle of the trip.

Break down shopping into short trips

Don’t make Christmas shopping a day-long event and try to get everything done in one afternoon. Instead, set a specific time limit for when you want to be at the mall, and let your child know. Children often behave better if they know that there is an end in sight. While this approach will mean more trips to the mall to complete your list, the time you spend shopping will be more pleasant for all.

Involve your child in shopping

If your child is old enough, let him help you decide what to buy. Letting your child be a part of the gift-giving process makes them feel essential to the trip and teaches them about the importance of giving rather than receiving.

Do something fun

In between stores, let your child do something fun. This might mean a visit to Santa’s shop, a trip to the toy store, or an ice cream.