I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.
Henry David Thoreau
As the cooler weather and bright colors of fall surround us, we are reminded that it’s okay to slow down, to take our time and to shift toward longer evenings at home and more opprtunities to show our thanksfulness to all the people that make our lives better. In the midst of the festivities, it behooves us to be mindful of the sensitivities of those around us, including our children. It’s undeniable that for many families with children who are still interpreting the traditions, the holidays can bring a mix of challenge and cheer. Whether its fluctuations in routine, new foods & fragrances, crowds, or early morning SFO runs – it’s important to have a game plan for your child – and for yourself. Here are a few tips and links we’ve assembled. Looking over the list, I see that the adults can benefit from some of this advise as well! – Happy Thangiving, Cris
Our top 5 tips for a more enjoyable holiday season
1. Keep your kid in the loop. Whether it be talking about the day’s game-plan over breakfast, or creating visual calendars for a child who likes to be in-the-know (Routinely, ChoiceWorks, or even GoogleCalendar are great resources) – helping your child to be aware of the new transitions, and environments can help alleviate their anxiety.
2. Pick your priorities, and inform family/friends of reasonable expectations. Grandma may want formal clothing, every item to be eaten, and quiet attention for the full 2-hour meal – hmmmm. Sensitive to touch? Let your cousin Martha know to save the bear hugs for the bear.
3. Help loved-ones you see less frequently, engage with your child in a meaningful way. Prearrange conversations, or activities, so your child can be included and engaged with others, in a way that is comfortable & enticing for them. Let others know of their love of Fin Whales, creating with Legos, or mashed potatoes; a simple “I heard that you really enjoyed your field trip to the museum” might be much more engaging for your child instead of “what’s your favorite subject at school?”
4. Have a special code word/signal. Assure your child that if they are feeling overwhelmed or need a break – that with the use of this word/signal – you’ll respond right away. Have some comfort items at the ready an alternate activity .
5. Take care of you, too. Certainly easier said than done, but it has to said! Do what you can, when you can to stay healthy for the long haul to New Years Day.