The holidays can be a challenging time for your child: gatherings, outings, foods, sounds, and extra excitement can create a trying, perhaps at times overwhelming, environment. I’m Dr. Henry Roane, Elemy’s VP of Clinical Care, and here are my top four tips on making this season enjoyable for your entire family.
Prepare at Your Child’s Pace
Ease into the holidays with your child. Build on small victories such as shopping at one store (and purchasing a single item) and gradually introducing decorations into your home. If your child has a favorite decoration, song, or character, incorporate them into your holiday planning.
Work Within Your Child’s Comfort Zone
If your child has trouble with crowds or loud noises, a large gathering might be overwhelming. To help them feel at ease, set up a quiet place and make sure they’re dressed in comfortable clothing. Bring something along to help them refocus if the event becomes too stressful.
If you have travel plans, keep your child at ease and entertained by packing snacks, toys, and familiar items (e.g., favorite blanket or toys, picture schedules used at home). To set expectations, provide a schedule, map, or general plan that they can easily follow along with.
Let family and friends know about your child’s unique needs, special dietary requirements, and any sensory sensitivities well before visiting or arriving at an event. Have them take part in some of your child’s favorite activities to create an environment of understanding and inclusion.
I hope these tips help you and your family further enjoy the holidays. Wishing you and yours a healthy, happy, and fulfilling new year, from all of us at Elemy.
Have a question for Dr. Roane or an idea for a topic? Get in touch.