Do the holidays become too much for your child?

Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Do the holidays become too much for your child?
4
Tue, 11-20-2012 - 2:19pm

How does your child do with all the commotion and schedule changes that tend to occur around the holidays?  Do you have any tips to share on how to handle the added stress on your child?

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Registered: 02-17-2004

On top of the holidays, DS also has his birthday this time of year.  So it gets really crazy.

To help with all of it, we get DS involved with the planning of events.  For his birthday party, he gets to pick where, when, the cake, the invite list, etc.  It gives him a sense of control. 

We do a similar thing with Thanksgiving.  We used to try to have everyone come over.  But with family issues (there are some who do not accept DS's quirks), we split Thanksgiving.  We usually celebrate with the portion of family that accepts DS.  We get him involved with the menu and he takes de-stress activities to help him calm down.  He's got to where he enjoys most of it.

For Christmas, we have people over.  It is a day for home and family.  Certain family members are invited over to help celebrate.  Or we will make a time to visit family on a different day after Christmas.  We keep groups small.  Because of this, we usually have 3 Christmas celebrations.

As for schedule, we have a home schedule which I am extremely strict about (at least the times, not the activities).  If not in school, then we keep the home schedule - even when visiting.  As mentioned, we only visit family and friends that gets the quirks and works with us so everyone can have a good time.

We do have a lot of sensory issues that come up during this time as a result of the extra stress.  We make sure DS does a good physical activity to help him out (ex: rake the yard, then play in the leaves).  When DS needs some down time, we create it.

But yes, it's always good when life gets back to normal.

Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
That's so sad that you have family members that don't accept him the way he is, but I guess you are all better off to avoid them? They are the ones missing out. It sounds like you do have a great circle of support regardless. That's a great idea to make sure he's getting in lots of physical activities. Are there any traditions that he really looks forward to each year?

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-17-2004

There are traditions that he really likes.  Each year, he makes all the decorations for the tree.  Usually the tree is only decorated on the bottom part that he can reach.  But it's his tree, so he can do whatever he wants.  Each year the theme is the current topic of interest.  One year, he made little squares with all the chemical elements on them.  It was a great way to get him to use his hands for cutting (an OT exercise).  He even cut the yarn we used to make the loops.  One year he cut out and colored WWII airplanes.  This year we are going with a writer's theme (scrolls of paper, titles of his "books", etc).

These things are not very Christmassy by traditional terms, but it's a great family thing and he loves it.  So, sometimes you go with the flow.  I have never had any guest complain about how the tree was decorated.

As for family, not accepting his quirks was not nearly as bad as intentionally setting him up for failure and disappointment.  The damage done to his social skills and self esteem has taken years to undo.  I made my stance on the topic VERY clear.  So yes, we are much better off without them around.

How about things your way?  Any favorite traditions?

K

Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Sorry for the late response, I was out of town. I love how you let him decorate the tree! We have a few traditions, probably their favorite is doing the Lego Advent calendar! They also like to go cut down the tree and watch the holiday movies.