Relationship Rescue: Holiday’s Maintaining Balance & Fun
I am often asked how to maintain some sense of decorum around the holidays with special needs children, while still managing to have fun.
Special Needs children NEED constant, consistent, structure if we are going to be assisting them in learning how to manage themselves. It’s important to realize that just because they are developmentally delayed doesn’t mean that you shower them with gifts. As the child begins to age, the family has to treat them in a responsible age appropriate manner.
Last year, I met with one family who was so frustrated with the insanity of Christmas gift giving and the school vacation that they were stressed to the max. They said that over the past few years, family and friends would inundate them with gifts and goodies to the point of them not knowing what to do with them. We discussed strategies that would help to set limits for their well meaning family and friends while still managing to enjoy the holidays.
The first step was to set a limit with the amount of “toys” that the child was going to receive. It is specific to what the family can tolerate. In this case it was limited to 5.
Next, was to suggest gifts such as, clothes, books, arts and crafts, children’s DVD’s, music. Not only would these be useful during their time off from school, but also, could be utilized for months to come.
The goodies were limited to small amounts because we know what all of those excess carbs and sugars can do!
Finally, help the child to understand the significance of giving and receiving. Help them to write thank-you cards to your friends and family.
I think the most important thing to remember is that despite our children’s intellectual disability does not mean that they are incapable of learning and showing their appreciation of the season to others.
Enjoy the Season!
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