Holidays with Special Needs Children
posted on Lori Lite’s Stress Free Kids
Tips to enjoy the Holidays With Special Needs Children
Set Up a Safe Brain Break Space
Your child can enjoy downtime when they feel over-stimulated at your house or your relatives. Set up a brain break space and be sure that the other children and guests know that this space is off-limits. Empower your special needs child to recognize when they need to go to their brain break space. Practice, practice, practice ahead of time to know when the mood is escalating. Did I say practice? Empower children by packing a relaxation bag they can go to if they are feeling anxious. Bring earphones and their special relaxation music or stories. Playdough, stress ball, music, video game, even a camera can help children relax and give them a focus if they have social anxiety.
The Indigo Dreams Series gives you stories that incorporate actual relaxation techniques. The other kids may be jealous give them their own space to de-stress. You may start a new trend!
Social stories, books, and movies can be a big help in preparing your child emotionally for holidays. Comfortable clothing and small dose exposures to holiday sounds can help physically. Think ahead with an eye for anxiety causing issues. If wrapping paper too loud? Use easy open bags or just decorate with a bow. Are the electronic bears with bells at Grandma’s house going to cause sensory overload? Ask her to unplug them before you get there. Let friends and family know about triggers ahead of time. If your child doesn’t like to be hugged suggest a handshake or just a wave. Your friends, family, and special needs children will be glad you did.
Prepare Your Children For Gatherings
Eliminate unnecessary anxiety associated with getting together with family members you rarely see by looking through photos of relatives prior to your event. Play memory games matching names to faces. This will help your children feel more comfortable with people they may not have seen in a while. Aunt Mary won’t seem quite so scary when she bends down to greet your child.
Use Relaxation Techniques
Incorporate deep breathing or other coping strategies into your day. Let your children see you use techniques when you are feeling stressed. Encourage them to use relaxation techniques on a daily basis. Breathing, visualizing,and positive thinking are powerful tools.
Incorporate Positive Statements Into Your Dinner
This is empowering and reflective. Each person at the table can state an attribute of their own that they are thankful for. For example, “I am thankful that I am creative.” Feeling stressed? Try, “I am thankful that I am calm.” Your special needs child can prepare ahead with a drawing or sign language if they want to participate without speaking.