Though the words “stress-free” and “holidays” don’t rhyme most of the time, every parent wants their kids to enjoy themselves at this time of the year. Regardless of which holiday your family is celebrating, we have tips in handy to make your holiday more enjoyable. And though these celebrations are packed with fun, food, they can be stressful for families with special needs since the unfamiliar smells, sounds, and visitors can disrupt the kids’ normal sessions.
Since families are looking to spend quality time together, they should also help their kids. The loved ones with special needs can have challenges with transition and sensory, and they will need some help at times to cope with them.
Tips for Special Kids during a Holiday
1.Prepare a Schedule of Events
Every time you are going on holiday with your kids, it’s crucial to have a full schedule of events and transitions. This can be a written schedule or one with pictures or a calendar. The schedule will enable your child to be at ease and feel safe by knowing what is coming up. Discuss this schedule before the trip and list the necessities and location of each event. For instance, you can indicate the events that will take place in the house and outdoors. Sometimes, when your child knows what’s coming up next, the entire process will be easier for them. Family members with special needs also love and enjoy a good routine. Routines are ideal for events with many transitions. Design a schedule a week or days before the holiday to be familiar with every event before it occurs. Every time you are going on a holiday with your kids, it’s crucial to have a full schedule of events and transitions. This can be a written schedule or one with pictures or a calendar. The schedule will enable your child to be at ease and feel safe by knowing what is coming up. Discuss this schedule before the trip and list the necessities and location of each event. For instance, you can indicate the events that will take place in the house and outdoors. Sometimes, when your child knows what’s coming up next, the entire process will be easier for them.
2.Watch for Sensory Overloads
Holidays come with plenty of stimulation, and this can easily overwhelm highly sensitive kids. It is, therefore, crucial to prepare ahead, especially when you are going into a highly stimulating environment. Don’t forget to carry some earplugs to loud events and don’t put many decorations into your home. If your kid is sensitive and needs some clothes for particular events, then bring some extra so that she can change when needed. Also, remind your child what she should do if she feels overwhelmed and keep the environment as calm as possible. Additionally, know your child's limits and be ready to handle them when there is a need for it. Please don’t wait for her to meltdown to start doing so.
3. Family Time
Holiday seasons provide an ample opportunity for family bonding. This makes them immensely popular, but how can you make the best of them? Well, its spending enough time with your kid. It’s vital to developing a stronger bond with her. You can also play a game, watch or even better chat with her for you to connect with her feelings and thoughts. Don’t forget to include her in preparations for Christmas and other celebrations. For instance, you can tell her to help decorate the festive table or help you in the kitchen to prepare a dish. It's not about perfection but instead giving your family members equal chances to participate in all the activities.
4. Set Expectations for Every Event
Before your family indulges in holiday parties and other fun events, you should hold a meeting and notify them of the events, and how they should behave. This is helpful for neuro-typical kids as they can easily get overwhelmed during the celebrations. Also, ensure they adhere to a good sleeping routine even amidst the special celebrations. They should also know the rules and areas they can play with. It's good to have a “kid area” if you travel for a vacation with the appropriate toys they can easily play with. Also, don’t forget to bring some familiar and favorite foods to such events.
5.Prepare your Family and Friends
Before you hold an event in your home, you should notify your friends and family sometime before the date. Notify them on what they should do to ensure your kid feels safe and comfortable. If you plan to visit your relatives or family, then carry along some items; she needs to stay comfortable. Holidays can be both the most exciting times of the year, but they can also be stressful for parents of kids with disabilities. But with these tips, the experience will be fun and memorable and with less stress. Happy holiday season ahead for you and your family.