The holidays are amongst us and while it is a festive time of year for so many people, it can be tough for special needs children. All the parties, people, and food can be overwhelming to many children with special needs but I have a few suggestions to help you while attending the many holiday gatherings with your child.
If you are attending a holiday party or gathering and you are taking your child with you, go prepared. Think ahead – will there be children’s activities at the party? If so, will they be the type of activities your child can participate in. Pack a bag to bring along with you of things that will occupy your child. Your child’s likes and dislikes will determine what items you will want to take with you but things like books, small toys, coloring books, and crayons would be good. If your child has a portable DVD player or an MP3 player, pack that too. Also, bring a blanket or a favorite stuffed animal in case your child gets tired and needs a little quiet time.
Prior to the holiday gathering, you’ll need to think about food. Does your child eat regular table food or does he or she have allergies or a special diet? Bring any special food and drinks that your child may eat, drink, or prefer. Even if the party will have food your child can eat you may still want to bring something that they really enjoy and offer it along with the party food.
Try to keep your child’s schedule in mind, which I know can be hard to do during the holidays. If you are at a gathering that is at a close family member or friend’s home and it nears your child’s bed time, ask if there is a place your child can lay down for a little bit. Also, you may wish to bring a pair of pajamas with you and change your child before you leave if your child is apt to falling asleep in the car.
Don’t feel like you have to go to every single party or holiday gathering. While it is hard to disappoint someone by saying no, you have to put your child first and may have to skip a few things for the sake of your child.
Or opt for getting a babysitter or a family member to watch your child so that you can enjoy yourself and not have to worry about watching your child, making sure he or she is occupied, etc.
Whatever you end up doing this holiday season, try to enjoy it!
by Coley S.