I don’t know about you, but I want to do more than just survive the holidays with a special needs child. Christmas is such an exciting time of the year and especially for our kids that are extra sensitive it can be even more challenging. We fill our houses with more stuff; décor, lights, smells and then bring on the sensory meltdowns.
We’ve slowly learned to adjust our holidays to fit Miss S. I’m thankful that as she gets older some things get easier to let go of. I always thought having a girl would mean the most gorgeous Christmas dresses. I’ve said this plenty of times if you are a follower of mine that clothing has been really hard for me to let go of. The last time I had a Christmas dress for her was 4 years ago.
We’ve learned a few simple tips that have helped our family survive the holidays with a special needs child.
LESS. This one is really hard for me. I am a more kind of person especially at Christmas!! I do more, I have a tree that there is less tree and way more sparkle on. I fill up an entire corner of gifts and way over spend. I cook and bake like there is 12 people in our house. Slowly over the past few years I’ve learned to do less and the less I do the merrier we all seem. As my mom recently said, “When did Christmas become a job?”
I also think that having an extra sensitive kiddo means that when I am stressed she feels it. So, the less stressed I can be sometimes the better she does.
Gifts. Keep it simple for gifts for your kiddo. They don’t need an entire living room of gifts that they will stop playing with two weeks after Christmas. Get creative, do the 3 Wiseman gifts or experience gifts.
Family Events. We pack our daughter’s food, we sit away from the large group so it’s quieter. We map out a schedule for the day and we keep her and the rest of the family on it. For us this is an easy thing to do because our family is extreme creatures of habit, we do the exact same things every year. We pack things for her to do when we need to reign her in and sometimes we keep our time short if necessary. We don’t sweat it if she doesn’t eat or if she doesn’t want to do something. These days are challenging.
Speaking of family… Don’t let shame or guilt in. What is it about being around those closest to us that bring on the guilt and shame? Stay strong mommas, walk away if needed, take a drink and stay calm. You are doing an awesome job with a very difficult situation and don’t let anyone else tell you anything different! Hold your head high my sensory parenting friend! You’ve got this!
Warning: Meltdown is extremely likely. Especially with the chaos of the holiday season meltdowns are probably unavoidable. Prepare as best you can to avoid them, even if it means letting go of some typical rules in our family. Give them a little extra room to breathe during the holiday season because it’s a more stressful time of year and they are doing their best! When a meltdown hits, stay close by until the storm rolls away, and it will.
Stick to a schedule. One of the worst thing that happens to us is the lack of schedule with no school and no school care available during the holidays, Miss S just loses it! Having a schedule for her helps her stay grounded and she knows what’s coming up. She loves to help make schedules with us for her free days.
Don’t be afraid to leave events or skip events all together. This one can be really hard for families. We as parents sometimes crave that social time or getting to do a special activity with our family. We’ve often had to opt for what will best for our family and less stressful, meaning to skip a lot of events completely.
If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy:
7 Christmas Wishes from a Sensory Mom
When your Christmas isn’t Merry and Your Heart isn’t Light
When Meltdowns Ruin the Fun
Simple Christmas Tree Craft
7 Great Gifts for Special Needs Parents