It’s the most wonderful time of the year… for some people. For others, it means no routine, more noise, more people and sensory overloading events. In this blog I share some tips on how to cope with Christmas events this festive season.
- Use a calendar or weekly planner to visually show the plans for the week. Check it and go through the plan daily.
- Provide warning about where you are going, who you are going to see, and what’s going to happen. For example, “We are all going in the car and driving to Grandma’s. Your Aunty Jill and Uncle Jack will be there. You can play outside, then you will come inside, and we will eat lunch. You can talk to Grandma and Grandpa about your Christmas presents and what you want to do in the school holidays. Then we will get back in the car to go home and then you can do (insert what they like to do)”. Or for children where less language works better, “Lunch at Grandma’s house today”, may be paired with a picture of Grandma’s house.
- Have a go at writing a social story about what will be happening and expected of your child this Christmas.
- Try to keep morning and night-time routines similar to typical routines to provide some consistency.
- Provide reminders we always say thank you for presents even if we don’t like them, to avoid any awkward gift giving.
- Use a timer or specific time to explain how long each activity event will last.
- Pack familiar foods. Ensuring you have something familiar to eat will provide some regularity and ensure those fussy eaters don’t go hungry.
- Bring along one toy/activity your child enjoys. This way they know one thing they can/do play when they get to the event.
- Remember your noise cancelling headphones if your child has some. Provide warning or avoid things which make loud noises (bon bons and fireworks).
- Always bring a change of clothes and show your child where the toilet is, if the event/home is not familiar.
- If possible, give time for a break. Maybe go for a little walk outside or allow a set period of quiet time away from the group.
- Try to include some rest days from the socialisation and sensory rich events.
We hope these tips help you have a successful, enjoyable and special festive season. On behalf of the The Potential Ability Group team, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a bright New Year.