With the holidays quickly approaching, parents are already in a frenzy trying to get holiday plans together, purchase gifts, schedule family gatherings, and prepare for school to be out of session. Parents with children who have special needs may find this time even more hectic. There are, however, several easy things that you can do that can make this time of year more natural and more enjoyable for you and your family.
Create A Routine
Many children with special needs feel lost without a routine. Being away from school and all of the commotions of holiday preparations throws off their routine and can lead to frustration and the feeling of insecurity. Creating a holiday time routine can help reduce the stress in the house for everyone.
Find A Holiday Project for Your Child
Giving your child a task for the holiday can help them feel a part of the preparations and celebration. Make it an important job, yet suited for their needs. Stuffing holiday cards into envelopes, wrapping presents, stringing popcorn, folding napkins, creating a holiday playlist are all important yet easy tasks that your child can do and help contribute to the holiday fun.
Plan Ahead for Visitors
Children with special needs, especially those who have sensory disabilities, may find having guests over for the holidays overwhelming. When you are preparing for your holiday party, make sure that your child has a "safe" place where they can go and enjoy some quiet time for themselves. During the party make sure that your child does not become overwhelmed by the guests who may stop and talk to them too frequently for their comfort.
Plan Some Downtime
The holidays can become very time consuming, and this can lead to exhaustion for you and your child. Make sure that you plan one or two downtime days where you and your child can relax and enjoy yourselves with other things that are not holiday-related. Being relaxed and well-rested is beneficial to everyone.
Don't Forget to Bake
This may sound like a very unusual tip, but baking for the holidays can be very therapeutic. Making biscuits or cakes from scratch is a great way to bond with your child and have them help contribute to the holiday preparations. When the cooking is completed, the treats are a reward for your efforts. This can give your child a sense of satisfaction of making something, a chance to be with their parents while doing a fun project, and a way to start a family tradition that makes everyone feel good.