The holiday season can be a very fun and exciting time, but it can also be overwhelming for some of us and for our kids. When a child becomes over-stimulated during the holidays, it can lead to stress, anxiety, or behaviors that can make this special time with family and friends difficult. Here are some tips to help make the holidays more enjoyable.
- Make a visual schedule of the events to take place and go over it with your child prior to leaving the house. This way, they can better prepare themselves for parties and events.
- Try to keep their mealtime and bedtime routine as normal as possible.
- Show your child pictures of friends and family they will be seeing over the holidays so they know what to expect.
- Talk to family members ahead of time about the difficulties that your child may have at events and how they can help make the experience more enjoyable.
- If you know your child has difficulty traveling long distances, try to break up the trip into segments.
- Be proactive about your child’s needs. If it looks like they are beginning to become over-stimulated at a party, find a quiet place to take a break before returning to the party. You know your child best, so try to read what will help them in the situation (a big hug, slow rocking in your lap, a quiet song, etc.).
- If your child is anxious about going to a friend or relative’s house, have them bring a game or other activity that they can participate in while at the party to make them feel more secure.
- Give your child notice prior to leaving parties and events so they can have an easier time leaving the fun.
- If your child is a picky eater or on a special diet, have them help pack the food they will be eating when visiting other places.
Work with your child, friends and family to help make the holidays a special and enjoyable time for everybody. Involving your child in the process of how to help each other during these times is important to give them confidence and support. Enjoy this wonderful holiday season!