‘Tis the Season’ How Do Parents Cope and What Can You Do to Help Your Child?
It’s that time of year again when we celebrate several holidays, some of which have long breaks from school for our children (Thanksgiving and Christmas). Their daily routines will be very different than their scheduled day in school. Foods that they eat, holiday/party clothes, and Christmas decorations (including a visit to Santa), just to name a few, could bring about anxiety, stress, and/or meltdowns because these aren’t “normal” for our children, let alone for our children with disabilities. How do parents cope and what can you do to help your child?
Your family can still enjoy the holidays, just in different ways (as I am sure you have learned). Involve your children in the decisions of what activity/ event to attend …. have your child(ren) make the decorations for the house and table; your child(ren) can help with baking or cooking. These are little things that parents can do, too, but they still involve your child(ren) in the holiday and on a level they can handle. Our children beam when parents say that “Sara helped make the chocolate chip cookies” or that “Zack made each of the place cards for the dinner table!” You are building unforgettable memories with your children and those moments are irreplaceable!
You can also help them with their IEP goals during these times. Read the goals and benchmarks listed and adapt and tweak them to what you are doing over the holidays. This is the time you can and should think outside the box! If your child is working on reading, grab a book from the library or one your child picked out from the store and read it together. Since you are making memories, you don’t “have” to do it a certain way like you would for school. You can read two pages while your child reads one. You are still reading and practicing/ reinforcing to that goal.
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