The holidays bring along with them the time of year where families come together and participate in traditions. These traditions help to define the memories that a child has throughout the years. From a meal that is prepared for the holidays to an activity that we participate in, when it comes to the holidays, these traditions are important. Especially to a child with special needs that struggles with change.
There are different traditions that you can put into place to help your child feel at ease during the holiday season. Here are some things that you can try to help your child recognize each holiday as they come and go every year.
- Give your child a section of your Christmas tree to decorate or ask them which ornaments are their favorites and place those on the front of the tree so your child can enjoy them.
- Find alternative decorations that your child can use to decorate their room or a space in your house. One option for alternative decorations is the holiday themed ones that are intended for bulletin boards. These can be attached to a wall and your child might have fun designing and decorating their own space.
- Include your child in the planning of events that are going to happen. By explaining what will happen will help them to understand what is going on at the event and will help keep them from being overwhelmed.
- Create a “safe space” room for your child with special needs where nothing in the room has changed. Explain to your child that if they need to get away for a break they can go to the room for one.
- Have a holiday calendar. The calendar outlines the events for the holidays and you and your child can decorate the calendar. By having the calendar handy, your child will have a better understanding of what will be different from their normal routine throughout the holidays.
By implementing traditions into your holiday routine that will help your child be at ease throughout everything going on, not only will they become great memories for you and your family, but they will help the entire holiday season go smoothly.
Happy Holidays from all of us here at Pediatric Therapy Partners!