Helping your sensory-sensitive child navigate the holidays

Helping your sensory-sensitive child navigate the holidays

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

  1. Let your child help

Set the groundwork in advance by having your child assist in the preparations. Having your child with sensory differences lend a hand with holiday prep will make the occasion less unknown. Have your youngster help with decorations and food prep, while sharing the holiday excitement together. Keep in mind that kids rarely remember things from one year to the next, so what may not seem "new" to you after two years in a row might still feel novel to your child.

  1. Set behavioral expectations

Even with neurotypical children, it's important to let them know what's expected during social gatherings. All of this can be done in a developmentally appropriate way. I'm always specific about what's allowed, as my son is very literal and concrete. I say, "You may not take video games away from Johnny. Ask him if you can play." I often model the appropriate interaction. I will say, "What do you say if you see Johnny playing with the Nintendo Switch?" And then I will pretend to be the other child. I can even do this with the problem behaviors that often pop up when lots of kids are playing. I role-play what to do when he gets angry or needs help. This may seem like overkill, but it almost always leads to a positive outcome with peers. Be sure to ask your child's speech therapist or case manager for help if your child needs something added to his or her augmentative communication device.

  1. Set expectations for the adults

Often this is harder than dealing with the kids. If you haven't had the conversation with your family about what autism or sensory differences look like in your house, before the holidays is the best time. Here is a great article from Even though my son is now almost 8, we still get the "he must have grown out of autism" thing from some family members. While I recognize that they are seeing all the positive changes, they still need gentle reminders that he will never "grow out of it." I remind them what his challenges are and how they can assist. People like to be helpful. Give them a concrete way to assist you.

  1. Come prepared

Bring a bag of tricks that will help your child in case of a meltdown. Pack a favorite comfort item (or two) and an engaging toy or game that you can bring out if the behavior gets out of hand or if your child (and other kids) has to be quiet for a period of time. For my son, that is the Nintendo Switch. He only gets it in certain situations, and it's his preferred toy. That means that when I need it to work, it works. It's an effective tool when he has to sit and be patient (or quiet). Don't forget sensory tools, if needed. Family parties and such can get loud; noise-blocking headphones or a weighted blanket or vest may help. Be sure you bring the tools that your child needs to communicate.

  1. Enlist help from peers.

Kids are awesome in so many ways. Use them. Peers and older cousins and friends can help. Tell them specifically how they can assist you. Ask them if they want to play with your child. It's fine to explain how your child communicates differently and how they can help everyone to have fun. In my opinion, honesty is the best policy, and others often love to help.

  1. Bring a babysitter

A helper may make it possible for you to enjoy your time without worry. Ask a favorite therapist, teacher, or sitter to come along. It's important for you to relax and enjoy the festivities too!

The holidays can be so stressful. Traveling can be a challenge in itself. But by following these guidelines and planning ahead, your holiday can be a much more enjoyable experience. You can read more about our journey as parents of a child on the spectrum here.

Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.

Watch the video: Sensory Friendly Gifts for the Holidays (November 2022).

Video, Sitemap-Video, Sitemap-Videos