Thanksgiving is just around the corner! Helping Hands For Kids wants every child to enjoy this gobble-gobble day. Thanksgiving is a day to gather with family and friends and express our thanks and gratitude for our blessings, but for kids with sensory processing disorder (SPD), Thanksgiving may not be as much fun. For some, it can be downright stressful. However, we believe with some special planning and by following a few helpful tips, children with SPD can enjoy turkey day too!
The holidays are a fun time but kids with sensory processing issues/challenges often have a difficult time with them. Holidays are a busy time with changes in routines, structure, unfamiliar events and sensations (especially sight and smell). Even if your child has experienced the holidays each one is different and don’t assume that he/she will be ok with it. Please discuss with your child about the holiday, the expectations, and the all the variables you can think could occur depending on your festivities. This will help reduce the anxiety and stress that is involved with being a part of holiday celebrations.
Gobble, Gobble…by following these helpful tips, you can make this a day that the whole family can enjoy:
1. If you know you will be participating in many events for this time of year, it's a great idea to give your child a schedule - maybe even one with pictures. It's a good idea to discuss it regularly and provide as much information for each event such as the time of day the event will occur, what activities will be occurring, etc. Also, discuss with your child which coping techniques are beneficial for him/her to be able to handle these situations. Never surprise a child with SPD. Repetition helps children with SPD understand – and enjoy – the event.
2. With all the excitement from Thanksgiving, implement guidelines and expectations for each event. For example, let your child know how long you will stay at the party and that you expect him/her to follow the rules.
3. If a child feels overwhelmed or stressed, explain to him/her he/she can come get you and ask to leave or to have a break. Please honor his/her request and even discuss some coping techniques that can be beneficial.
4. It's a good idea to discuss what foods may be present on Thanksgiving. As we know, all foods have different smells and sights that may be not be pleasant for a child with sensory processing issues/challenges. If you know your child has allergies, please bring what he/she can eat and enjoy.
By following these tips, you can help to make the festivities fun and safe for everyone. Should you have any questions, or are interested in learning more about how Helping Hands For Kids can help your child perform at his/her best, please contact us.