The holiday season is often seen as a time of pleasure and happiness. However, it may also bring numerous difficulties for children with autism and their parents. There may be happy times throughout the holidays for families with a child on the autism spectrum, but they often encounter more stress and difficulties than other families.
Fortunately, by being proactive, some of the stress and difficulties that a kid with autism and his or her family may face throughout this time can be avoided. We’ll give you a handful of pointers and methods that may assist you in assisting your child to prepare for the holiday season.Following are some suggestions for keeping your child stress-free and happy during the holidays. These ideas will assist you in preventing anxiety and behavioral issues, as well as making the holiday season more pleasant for both you and your kid.
Many people consider the holiday season to be a time for fun, laughter, and happiness. They anticipate spending quality time with their friends and family, as well as participating in a variety of activities and customs throughout the season. Although many children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience joy during the holiday season, for others, it may be overwhelming, stressful, cause anxiety, meltdowns, shutting down, or other sorts of challenging actions.
Many youngsters with autism do best when their daily routine is consistent. They are more comfortable knowing what to anticipate and who the people in their lives are. Many parents of children with autism are well-aware of the problems that may arise when their child’s routine is disrupted, something unexpected occurs, or they are expected to interact with new and strange people. During a tantrum, the youngster might become overwhelmed or have a difficult behavior such as screaming, crying, or withdrawing.
Despite the difficulties, families with children on the autism spectrum can enjoy themselves during the holidays. Let’s look at some ideas for making the holiday season brighter for everyone involved.
During the Holidays, Here’s What You Can Do to Help Your ASD Child
There’s no such thing as a perfect approach to assist a kid deal with stress or handle challenging behaviors. There is no one true method to help a youngster develop the abilities they’ll need to live a happy and joyful life. However, there are certain factors parents should consider when attempting to teach their child these skills.
When it comes to preparing for the holidays, there are a few basic ideas that you might consider. These are based on evidence-based solutions discovered in the field of behavior science that may help children learn new skills that will support their independence, self-care abilities, emotional regulation, and encourage good and beneficial behaviors.
Working with a Calendar
A schedule may be beneficial for kids who have autism. Having a calendar that lists all the activities that will occur over the Christmas period is important.A calendar may be used as a family tool and help your youngster cope with irregular occurrences, such as birthdays or vacations.
To assist your youngster in being better prepared for the holiday season, make a calendar with the events – parties, holidays, shopping (if possible), and any other activities that you can arrange. Keep an eye on the calendar with your youngster on a regular basis to assess what’s going on.
However, don’t force them. When youngsters (and adults) feel they have too much to do, they may become overwhelmed. Some children with ASD may become apprehensive as a result of anticipating an event that makes them nervous. So, just keep in mind what is the greatest balance for your kid when it comes to educating them about what to anticipate, while at the same time considering how they’ll respond to this information.
Help Your Child Improve His or Her Stress-Management Skills
Some children with autism may experience more stress or anxiety over the holidays, as we previously stated. This might occur when they’re thinking about what lies ahead, or it could happen while they’re at school or during holiday celebrations. It could appear to “come out of nowhere” in their everyday lives. Learning various stress-management techniques might help children with autism. These are just a few of the things you can work on with your child throughout the year, but before and during the holidays, you may devote additional focus to them. These abilities will be useful for years to come.
Of course, what works for one kid may not work for another. Also, when teaching stress-management techniques, keep in mind your child’s demands and learning style. There are a variety of methods to teach stress management that might help your youngster anticipate and survive the holidays, including:
- Knowing how to maintain personal space when dealing with a group of individuals is important.
- To prepare for and conduct social encounters, employ deep breathing and relaxation methods.
- Before attending to a holiday activity, offer your child preferred activities and solitary play to relax the mind and body, or bring preferred things/activities with you.
What to Expect from Your Child
You may also assist your kid to prepare for the holidays by having conversations with them about what to anticipate. For instance, you might discuss who will be at the holiday dinner and what activities will take place there. You can inform your child whether he is or is not permitted to carry and use an electronic gadget (such as his phone or tablet) during the event or at different periods of time.
There are several strategies for children with autism who are non-verbal or unable to comprehend vocal communication or who struggle in this area to a minor extent. Parents may use pictures or social stories to help their children understand the event or activity they will be participating in. Creating a “book” that discusses who will be at the party, what activities could take place there, and any rules or expectations for behavior might also assist. You may also include your child’s self-care and stress-management abilities, as well as any possible rewards you could provide for particular accomplishments, such as maintaining the dinner table for 20 minutes or showing up to the event.
The goal is to give your youngster with information about the event ahead of time so that they are better prepared and less caught off-guard during it.
Taking Steps to Keep Your Child Safe
Use some proactive methods to make the holiday season more pleasurable for everyone and prevent unpleasant situations by avoiding challenging behaviors. Being proactive in your efforts to assist your kid with autism cope better with the holidays includes anticipating what may happen that you or your kid would rather avoid. It also entails determining what you and your child want to occur over the holidays, as well as putting in place measures that will make those outcomes more probable.
On a side note, it’s critical to consider what your child would and wouldn’t want to occur around the holidays, but it’s acceptable to utilize an authoritative parenting style and make judgments that your kid may or may not agree with. If you want your youngster to remain off his or her electronic gadget for a minimum of a part of the time during the family get-together, or that he or she greets grandma, it is acceptable to set that expectation even if your child does not like the idea.
You may use the following proactive techniques to assist your youngster in successfully getting through the holidays:
- Creating a secure environment for your kid to enjoy free play when he or she needs some alone time during an event (if the event is hosted at your home)
- Creating a secure zone for your child to get away from the group (if the event is being held at another location)
- Establishing a clear framework of expectations for your youngster and telling him about them
- Inquiring about what will make your child more at ease during the holidays
- Making arrangements and ensuring that your youngster gets enough rest on a regular basis is an important part of good parenting.
- Being mindful of what your youngster will eat (this is particularly important for picky eaters)
There are a few more factors to think about while assisting your child with autism to have a pleasant holiday season.
Reinforcement That Is Positive
Is there any way you can use good reinforcement to help your child succeed during the holidays by demonstrating appropriate conduct and fulfilling expectations?
Consider how you might utilize your child’s favorite things or activities to help them learn good behaviors. For example, a youngster may earn his or her own tablet time by remaining in the living room for thirty minutes during a family gathering.
What are the most important things to you as a parent?
Consider what you feel is essential for your youngster during the holidays, and don’t simply expect them to be like everyone else. Is it critical that they play with their cousins or is it fine if they sit alone instead of participating in the social games going on?
What does “realistic” mean?
Consider what is realistic for your kid in terms of time and effort. What you believe to be essential for your child might not be, since this isn’t always the case with other children or families.
Every child, as we all know, is different and unique in her or his own way. Is it reasonable to expect your youngster to eat a meal with extended family or in a new setting, or would that be too much for them? Is it possible that they are so nervous to eat in front of individuals they don’t know well? Or do they have a restricted diet, and you must bring food to the gathering that you know they’ll consume instead of attempting to get them to eat food at the party?
Tips for Parents: Dealing with Parental Stress and Self-Care
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when caring for a youngster on the spectrum during the holidays. Regardless of whether you choose to use any of these techniques, you must check in with yourself frequently and take care of yourself on a daily basis, no matter what.Here are some suggestions to assist you cope with the stress and support your mental health during these tumultuous times.
Preparing Your Child with Autism for the Holidays
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for assisting a child with autism through the holiday season. These techniques and ideas, on the other hand, may assist.