Holidays and family events can be rewarding yet challenging. Sometimes the long anticipated holidays are stress and anxiety inducing for kids with ASD. These tips from The Child Mind Institute will help make this holiday season more enjoyable for our kids. It will help them be at their best and have fun too.
Minimize conflict over behavior
Have several conversations with your kids leading up to holiday events on expected behavior and rules of a different household vs. your own.
Talk to your hosts early
“A child who has behavior difficulties at school is going to have them at grandma’s house,” warns Dr. Dickstein, a child and adolescent psychiatrist. So make sure their expectations are realistic.
Plan ahead for some peace and quiet
For our kids who are easily over stimulated, find a place where they can take a break and just be quiet.
Keep kids occupied
Long drives ahead? Getting out of the car to run around for a few minutes may be beneficial for kids who get restless or have impulsive behavior. Also, consider bringing simple activities for your child to occupy them at gatherings.
Discuss Social Expectations
Communicate to extended family ahead of time and don't assume the same social expectation for every kid.
Think about the menu and plan accordingly
Picky eaters and sensory diets? No problem. Communicate with your child that it is ok to explore new foods but that you can bring along foods they like to eat as well. Talk to your your hosts/guests about special diets and inform them of any accommodations required for you and your loved ones.
Manage your expectations
“Above all, give yourself a break,” says Dr. Dickenstein. “You can’t make everyone happy, and perfect holidays are nonexistent."