The holidays provide many wonderful opportunities to connect with family and friends and celebrate traditions, but all this break from routine can be a lot for our kids with sensory sensitivities and can become dysregulating. For children with autism, ADHD, sensory processing conditions, and developmental conditions, it’s important to support your child’s need for routine while celebrating special events. Here are a few tips to set your child up for success during this holiday season.
Recalibrate Your Expectations – It’s common to want a perfect holiday card picture to send to our loved ones, for a party to go off without a hitch, and for our holidays to be relaxing and free from tantrums. If there is anything that life has taught us, it is that nothing is perfect. We need to give everyone some grace, including ourselves and our children. Adjusting our expectations and allowing things to not be exactly as we hoped or pictured will go a long way. This allows us the opportunity to experience things in a more relaxed, calm manner.
Plan Ahead – The holidays are by nature a disruption of our routines, school is out for the holidays, we visit family and friends that we may not see regularly, and we engage in activities that are new. Planning ahead will help to increase your child’s awareness of what to expect, and hopefully allow for increased participation and success. Some tools that are helpful include:
- Create a visual schedule with pictures and simple phrases
- Talk to your child about what will be taking place
- Utilize social stories when doing something new
Down Time – Don’t forget to schedule time for you and your kids to relax during this busy time. Scheduling sensory breaks throughout your daily routines will help to increase sensory processing and modulation skills which will help the child be able to participate at a higher level of success. Some sensory break options are:
- Quiet time – Create a place that has decreased stimuli (no decorations) and that is familiar for your child to relax and potentially engage in other calming activities.
- Music – Listen to familiar music; not all Christmas carols all of the time. Let your child choose what they want to listen to and support them if they want to sing or dance.
- Story time – Reading a favorite story to your child or allowing them to read independently can be calming.
- Arts and crafts – Let your child be creative! Drawing, painting, baking cookies, and so many more will allow both a sensory experience and for them to participate in a focused and calming activity.
- Movement breaks – Organized movement breaks provide your child with deep pressure, proprioceptive, and vestibular input, which will increase your child’s overall regulation. Some ideas can include yoga, dancing, Simon Says, obstacle courses, jumping on a trampoline, or going to the park.
Our multi-disciplinary team of therapists is always here to help! For more ideas of how to increase your child’s success during this holiday season, please reach out to your child’s therapist.
Eyas Landing is a therapy clinic with a mission to provide evidence-based and family-centered therapy services for children, adolescents, and their families. The primary goal is to deliver relationship-based interventions within the most natural environments and to empower families to reach their full potential. To achieve this goal, our highly educated, compassionate staff dedicates time and expertise to create experiences that maximize therapeutic outcomes. The strength, determination, and perseverance of our clients are evident as they succeed in therapy, and ultimately in their daily lives.
Eyas Landing offers a wide range of comprehensive services including Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, ABA Therapy, Social Work, Family Therapy, and Neuropsych testing. Services are provided throughout the Chicagoland area via Telehealth, In-Home, and in our state of the art clinic.
Want to learn more or you have a specific question? Feel free to connect with us here!