Holiday Tips & Sensory Strategies
With the holidays here, there is much to be anticipated and much to be excited about for your little one. From what presents will they get, to who will come visit, to enjoying having time off from school, etc.
Here are some quick & easy simple strategies/tips to help decrease your little one’s stress during the holiday season:
Stick to schedules/routines as much as possible
The majority of humans draw comfort from routine. Not only is it normal for our schedules/routines to be thrown off a little bit during the holidays. It is a great lesson for children to have as it teaches them that while it is great to have and follow a schedule, we need to practice flexibility as well, because things change. Try your best to stick to schedules/routines as much as possible during holidays. But know that if your schedule/routine does get thrown off, that’s ok and it’s a great time to teach your little one about flexibility.
Provide guidelines with presents/gifts
Along with changes in schedules/routines Holiday traditions such as gift giving can create new situations that children may not know how to appropriately act with. This can simply be addressed by providing guidelines with gift giving/receiving prior to the activity. Things such as “we can only unwrap presents with our name on them”, “when we give someone a gift it is their turn to unwrap and play with it”, “everyone gets a turn to unwrap gifts and presents, so we may have to wait and be patient when someone else is unwrapping their gifts.”
Provide opportunities for calming & relaxation
With all the changes that the Holidays can bring, it is sometimes necessary that we give our little one time to calm down. As all the changes in routines, visitations from family members we don’t see too often, the lights on houses/building, etc. can sometimes be overwhelming. A good way to help with this is giving your little one time for calming & relaxation away from other people and commotion. Better yet, you can try to schedule opportunities for calming & relaxation during the day, so you can be pro-active in an effort to prevent meltdowns.
The Holidays often give us lots to be excited for, unfortunately they can give us lots to be overwhelmed with. Following these simple strategies can help make your holidays go successfully and smoothly. If you still have concerns or are in need of additional strategies don’t hesitate to reach out to your therapist for help & guidance.
Michael Jankowski, MS, OTR/L
Occupational Therapy Director