Sensory-Friendly Holidays

Sensory Friendly Holidays
We welcome you to our Holiday edition of PediaPlex’s monthly newsletter, as we are now firmly in the grip of one of the most anticipated and fun times of the year!
While we can surely hope for freshly fallen December snow here in North Texas, the other sure signs Christmas is upon us are the colorful lights, the sounds of familiar holiday songs in every store, and of course the inflated crowds that fill every street and shop. The sounds, the smells, the sights – these are all part of the magical energy but also fills some kids with anticipation and sensory overload. We want you and your family to enjoy this holiday season and have some sage guidance below which we gathered from our amazing therapy team and their years of expertise.
One of the best suggestions is something you likely do regularly already, which is to rely on the trusty VISUAL SCHEDULE that works best for you and your son/daughter. The difference? Often this time of year carries a much busier schedule for the family so it is important to update the holiday schedule and perhaps even over-emphasize things a bit. Consider posting it in fun and easy places, and make a big deal about the exciting new Christmas calendar! Having the children engaged will help them adjust to new activities and a change in their usual routine.
At a level appropriate for your superstar kiddo, you may find it helpful to read stories which describe social situations he/she may encounter over the holidays. Santa is a massive social engagement so books on visiting Santa can help your child prepare and set some expectations on what they will see and hear there. Also, stories can help you talk about crowds, lights that have seemingly popped up out of nowhere, and all the pretty decorations which surely will catch the attention of your child.
This last suggestion particularly applies to families who typically have a full, active Christmas Day: Large families and Christmas traditions can mean some folks are pretty busy on that day and don’t necessarily spend the day in PJ’s on the couch. For these families, perhaps try something fun and new and make Christmas Day last the entire week rather than cramming everything into one day! This will make all the extra activity much easier for your kids to process and hopefully help avoid being overwhelmed.
In the end, we know this can be one of the most fun and exciting times of the year for some families and a quite challenging and tense season for others. We encourage you to try these expert recommendations during this holiday season to help your wonderful kiddos engage Christmas with plenty of anticipation and excitement! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and your family!
The PediaPlex Family

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