Surviving the holiday period can be tough, not just on Christmas day but also each gathering the period brings with family and friends. This can be especially difficult for children with disabilities. Everything about Christmas and the holiday period is different, and sometimes quite frightening for them. The sounds, the smells, the people and the general atmosphere changes during the festive holidays. Its important not only to make sure your child feels comfortable, but also those around you. Here are some helpful tips to survive the festive gatherings.
Family and friend gatherings during the festive period may be with those you only see once a year. Relatives who are not familiar with your child’s disability may make well meaning but misinformed comments. Resist the urge to retaliate, instead prepare. Prepare ahead of time by anticipating what certain relatives might say to you. You may need to deflect from and also empathize with certain comments about your child’s eating habits or reaction to a present, but focus on the positive and how to make things easier for all.
Remember you have been living with your child’s disability everyday but your relatives know little about your child and their needs. Some may be unsure how to communicate with your child. Help them interact so they can see how great they are by teaching others about your child’s equipment, encourage questions about special interests, and help relatives and friends by telling tell how to phrase their comments and questions to your child. It helps to include your child in questions directed to you, the parent, instead of directly to them.
Another helpful tip is too prepare your friends and relatives ahead to time, by asking for accommodations to be made, and explaining certain behaviours to dissolve any situation which may arise. Also prepare you child, letting them know what events are happening, who will be there, and what to expect, helping them understand the changes around them. The holiday period can be difficult, but remember to have fun and to continue to learn how to survive the festive period.