Christmas can be a fun time of year. Time with family and friends and eating lots of good food. For a child with sensory sensitivities, Christmas gatherings are a source of stress and frustration. Their nervous system overreacts to the sensory input coming in from their environment. This often presents itself as frequent tantrums and refusal to participate in activities.
Here are some tips to help all children have a good Christmas.
- Make a schedule ahead of time and review with the child so they know what to expect. Example: First we are going to open presents at our house, then we are going to drive to Grandma’s house and you will play your cousins, then we will eat dinner. Depending on the child this might be a visual schedule, or it could be reviewing the schedule out loud.
- Try to stick to familiar routines. If your child is accustomed to napping or having a snack at a certain time try to create this opportunities.
- Identify a “quiet space” wherever you are so the child has a place to “escape” the overwhelming environment.
- Take your child’s sensory tools with you. Weighted blanket, fidgets, noise canceling headphones.
- Spread out the excitement-sometimes having everything happen in 1 or 2 days is too overwhelming.
- Visit Santa at odd times when fewer people are likely to be there.
- Let friends and family know that your child needs to approach them; instead of the child being bombarded with unexpected touch.
- Offer to bring several foods that you know your child will eat.
Planning ahead and making a few adjustments can make the difference between a hectic holiday or a happy holiday.
Connect Pediatric Therapy specializes in the treatment of children with sensory processing difficulties. If we can help your family please reach out at 402-413-1356.