During this time of the year, a lot is going on so it is natural for kids to be overwhelmed and act out! If you plan on having a family gathering that involves new smells, loud voices, or too many sights; try some of these tips to help your kiddo out.
Reading a social story about what will happen during your next holiday event is a great way to prepare your child.
- You can make the social story together! Have your child color in pictures or have them make their own to go along with the story.
Give Them a Job
Having a specific job during the holiday season can help make your child feel needed or important. Some ideas include:
- Setting the table
- Helping with the cooking process for a dish or two
- Cleaning up (bring dishes to the sink, dry dishes or even help wash)
- Bring used napkins and dish cloths to the laundry room
- Put away the dishes
- Write down what family members want for dessert
Provide a quiet space for your child to go when upset or overwhelmed. Go over calming strategies to use when in your calming space.
- Build a blanket fort together or use a tent as a place to go.
- Put calming items inside like a stuffed animal, calming music, putty, a fidget, some coloring supplies, or any other favorite calming tools!
- Explain to your child that this is a place to go if you need to calm your body, but after you are calm you can come back out.
Practice, practice, practice! Talk about the different strategies provided or come up with your own before the event and leading up to it! Have your child practice smelling or trying the new foods that will be made for the gathering, make this fun-they can sniff it, lick it, eat it or even play with it! Try coming up with topics to talk about at the table, this can help with attention and social interaction skills.
Holiday gatherings can be overwhelming but thankfully there are tools to help guide you through to make this experience enjoyable for all! If you still have challenges after trying some of these strategies, contact the office at BDI Playhouse Children’s Therapy to receive a free screen, or check the website at https://bdiplayhouse.com/free-screenings/.
Written By Kiersten Robertson, MOT, OTR/L