Christmas is almost here. The time of year that is so special for most families, even among the chaos of preparations for the big day with family and friends. It is stressful for most families, but parents of exceptional kids often had it harder. Their kids just feel things more intently and do not always adjust to the changes in the scheduling with ease as a parent would hope. So, how can an exceptional family help the holiday season go more smoothly? Here are some tips that have worked for our family over the years:
5 Ways to Deal With The Upheaval That Holiday Schedules Bring To Exceptional Families:
1) Have an outline or plan for the holidays in advance: I know this goes against spontaneity with other family members, but if you can, try to have a plan in advance for how you will be handling the holidays with celebrating so that your exceptional child can prepare for any stresses up ahead (and so can you). This includes holiday preparations and who you will be seeing etc.
2) Plan out play dates or get away as a family: I cannot stress this enough. Some of the holiday needs to be structured with either play dates or family time away so that the child moves away from the home front and repetitive activities. You would do this with a neuro typical child. Do not behave differently because this is an exceptional child. They need to experience all sorts of things.
3) Make some Mom/Dad time away and some solo time whenever possible: If you can take some couple time away during the holidays and some separate Mom/Dad time away during the break, it will benefit you, your partner and your child by recharging your book in advance for activities that will recharge your child.
4) Get physical as a family and alone: Getting active with sledding , skating, walking and any other physical activities is a great way to make sure that kids and adults are active, having fun together, and moving towards a healthier way of living.
5) Have a plan for meltdown days: It’s important to also have a backup plan for those days when kids (and sometimes their exceptional parents) are having a hard day and need time to decompress and unwind if they are tired, frustrated, or overwhelmed. Meltdown days do not pick a convenient moment often, and when they happen we need to ride them out as calmly as we can. Find a spot where your child can pull themselves together and remind them of whatever strategies worked in the past. Chances are this will help them be successful.
Exceptional Parents, what are your holiday secrets to keeping sanity in your family? How do you survive the initial onslaught of holiday madness? It is probably by having a plan of action in place that works for you and your family. For some, it may be toning down on the socializing. For others, upping it. Regardless, go with your child’s cues, your own family structure, and make sure that the whole family feels comfortable no matter what happens, that the holidays are all about love, connecting and relaxing. Enjoy yours with family and friends. Wishing you all peace, love, joy and health in your celebrations whatever way you celebrate! Until the New Year. Until next time.
I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.