The holidays can be busy, fun and stressful! Between buying presents, organizing holiday events and trips and spending more time with family members it can be overwhelming, especially for children with special needs. Here’s 8 quick and easy ways to manage the stress and increase the fun.
- Mange your own stress. You are an example and a role model. Show your kids how you manage your stress by making it apparent to them. For example, the line is long at the store, acknowledge it, talk to your child about the strategy you will use (e.g., self-talk, deep breathing etc.) report how you feel better and more in control.
- Manage changes as much as possible. Give your children a heads up when things are going to change, such as changes in routines.
- Let your children know that you will be doing some fun things, but at other times they are going to have to entertain themselves. Help them chose a book, or a game etc. in preparation for these times.
- Manage sensory overload. Holidays often include parties with lots of strangers, sit down fancy meals, outings and visits, and trips to see Santa. Try not to over schedule and keep demanding events to no more than one a day. Make sure your kids have some downtime and relaxation. Monitor your child’s frustration level and reduce the sensory overload if it looks as if they are becoming overwhelmed.
- As much as possible keep your child’s routines, such as bedtime and mealtimes
- Spend time together. Share an activity, read a book, count the stars, listen to music etc.
- Keep them active. Kids are used to the fast pace of school. Although they need downtime and they don’t need to be over-scheduled, they do need some time each day doing something active. We know physical activity is a stress buster!
- Build family routines for the holidays. Bake cookies to share, go to a concert or play, take old toys to charity shop etc. create something that is meaningful to your family and fun to do.