If your kids are anything like mine, they are begging you right now for a Nintendo Switch or an iPad or a new phone or an XBox or any number of other digital distractions. I’m not against devices totally, but I have learned that the best gifts are usually the ones we can enjoy together. Here are a few of my kids’ favorites.
My family stumbled upon audiobooks when one day Laurie got one from the Hank, the Cowdog series from the library. Isaac loved it immediately, and he has since inspired his three younger siblings, who all go to sleep listening to an audiobook. They swap and trade, and use allowance money for new stories. This is ideal for kids with ADHD, who often struggle with settling down at night.
This gift is also ideal for kids with ADHD who have trouble settling down at bedtime. Weighted blankets have a calming effect on the nervous system, which then releases serotonin. We used one with all of our kids, and now that they’re older they all like sleeping under multiple blankets. If you’re like me, this also means you can keep the house temperature lower in the winter, which will mean lower heating bills!
Note: It is wise to get an easily washable weighted blanket if there are bed-wetting issues.
Quad roller skates are so old school that parents may not even think of them as gift ideas. A play therapist once advised us that giving kids with ADHD physically grueling activities can be an ideal outlet for their high energy, thus improving overall behavior. We learned that it really does work: Strap on some skates, send them around in circles at the rink or an empty parking lot, and your kids will end up too tired to act wild, or at least AS wild.
Many kids with ADHD are highly creative, so activity books for making paper dolls or paper airplanes make great gifts. We bought Jasmine a small craft table that sits in our kitchen, and she spends hours every day creating dolls and doll outfits, Christmas ornaments, and key chains.
Studies show a direct correlation between ADHD and creative thinking. What’s more, people with ADHD tend to excel at things that interest them. And music is a great melding of these two phenomena for my kids. After teaching guitar for more than 20 years, I’ve learned just about everyone picks up the guitar for the same reason I did when I was 13 years old: It’s cool! The holidays are a great time to find deals on brand new instruments. In recent years many manufacturers have found ways to sell instruments that are both good quality and affordable.