As exciting as the holiday season can be for most kids, it can also be difficult at times, especially for little ones who struggle with behavioral, social or academic challenges. After all, many holiday activities require participants to focus, sit still or be more social than some kids are comfortable with. This can lead to low confidence throughout the holiday season, which is a time when kids deserve to feel good about themselves. If you suspect your child might struggle with low confidence during the holidays, here’s how you can help.
Give Them Important Holiday Tasks
Many kids who have ADHD and other disorders like to stay busy doing helpful jobs. The holiday season is a great time for this since there is so much to do. If you want to ensure kids feel important and confident during this time, assign them holiday-related tasks. Such jobs might include putting ornaments on a tree, choosing the holiday movie to watch or helping you bake cookies. Be sure to assist them as needed, and then praise them for doing a great job.
Choose Appropriate Community Service Jobs
Now is a great time to serve the community and even get your child involved, since kids tend to feel good about themselves when they help people. However, keep your child’s strengths and weaknesses in mind when you choose what type of community service to do. Otherwise, you could be setting him or her up for failure, which could affect self-esteem. For example, if your child isn’t super coordinated or can’t stand still for long, ladling soup into bowls at a soup kitchen isn’t the best volunteer project. Instead, consider working together to pick up litter at a park, initiate a food drive or volunteer to walk dogs at a local shelter.
Go Over Expectations for Holiday Events
Kids who struggle in school or get reprimanded a lot might also feel socially awkward. This can make holiday parties tough on them. But you can help in a few ways. First, plan to keep the visit short and be prepared to make a quick exit in case your child gets upset or restless at the party. And before you even arrive, you should talk to your child about what to expect so you can keep him or her from feeling too overwhelmed. Tell your child who else will be at the party, where it will take place, what food will be there, how long you’ll stay and what rules he or she needs to follow. Be sure to listen to any questions or concerns your child has, and consider suggesting some icebreakers to make it easier to start conversations with other kids.