The end of this term is really tricky for our special children.
They find this time of year really difficult and the result is tears, outbursts and arguments.
The routine has changed. Your child may have to cope with endless play rehearsals, performances and loud and annoying Christmas carols and songs. Some lessons will be dropped and last minute ‘surprises’ may cause huge disruption in your child’s little world. Many of our special children cannot cope with the sensory overload.
Plus, your child will be absolutely exhausted.
Then along comes the excitement of Christmas. Presents, outings, extended family, unstructured days, late nights. And hand-in-hand comes more arguments, tears, rows, tantrums and meltdowns.
Santa will bring gifts. But maybe the best gift that Santa cannot bring, is a little bit of peace and calm.
So here are some tips to help you find just a little bit of tranquility…
Good enough is good enough
Don’t feel pressured by anyone to put on the most perfect Christmas. Have different expectations. If you need to leave anywhere early, then that’s okay. Or your child doesn’t sit at the table, then that’s okay. If he doesn’t want to wear a scratchy new shirt and prefers his Star Wars t-shirt, then that’s okay. If he won’t eat Christmas dinner and prefers baked beans, that’s okay. If your tree isn’t perfectly decorated or the turkey turns dry, then that’s okay too. Christmas is stressful enough without thinking you need to hand make all the crackers and craft original table decorations. Good enough is really good enough.
Be ready for unhelpful advice
Getting together with friends and family over the festive seasons brings with it the challenge of unwanted comments, tut-tutters and the do-gooders. All generally mean well but their comments can be unhelpful and at worse hurtful. Be prepared. Practice what you’re going to say when your child says he doesn’t like his present. Or when he hits his cousin. Or when he won’t join in with charades. You know your child best so don’t be pressurised into treating him differently just because Aunt Doris is watching. Explain he has special needs which means that adults must react to his behaviour in a different way. Explain that you are trying to build up his self-esteem and you don’t want to constantly criticize and make him feel useless. Explain that by changing your reaction you are making him feel amazing and valued. No he is not spoilt, naughty or ungrateful. And so on, you get the picture….
We are Warrior Mums, that is true. We spend our time juggling battling for our child, running a home and keeping the family ticking along. But for once, during the Christmas break why don’t you dish out some of those jobs and delegate. Get your partner to cook the dinners, wrap the presents, lay the table. Do online grocery shopping. Ask for help. It’s okay to have a break and to recharge your batteries – you deserve it.
Take time for you
You won’t be surprised that I’ve included this. But it’s really important that in the madness of Christmas to just stop, breath, be mindful, do something for yourself and relax. Look around you and look for the positives in your life. Notice the things that make you smile, make you proud. Get someone else in the family to watch your child for just 10 minutes. Find time for an indulgent chocolate snack and focus on the chocolate melting in your mouth. Or go for drive and put on your most relaxing music. Soak in the bath and light a beautiful scented candle. Do something for you, every single day. You are important.
Keep to a routine
As much as possible stick to a routine. Let him know what is going to happen that day so there are no surprises. Have tons of emergency games and treats to keep him occupied. If he’s stuck indoors then wrap up, go outside, get some fresh air and get rid of all that energy. Quit whilst you’re ahead and leave if it’s all getting too much.
Have a laugh
Laughter really is the best medicine. Life is difficult. Some of us have really, really tricky lives. If I was to stop and think about all the things that could get me down, I think I would crawl into bed and never get out. But I don’t. Even when my bucket is full to the top of stress and hassle, I make sure that I find a positive. So find something that cheers you up and have a laugh. Every day.
I truly hope you have a calm time over the Christmas holidays. I know Santa won’t bring it, but I give you the gift of peace.
With love from,