The holidays are a wonderful time of year for so many families. For some, though, the holidays can bring added stress and anxiety. This can be especially true when it comes to finding ways to make Christmas joyful for children with autism. Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach, there are some things you can do that will help create a more enjoyable holiday experience. It’s important to remember that every family is unique and every child with autism is different as well. What works for one family or child may not work for another. Here are some tips on how to make Christmas joyful for children with autism:
Keep it simple
- Keep it simple
For those with autism, Christmas can be a stressful time. It’s important to keep things as simple as possible — both in terms of decorations and food. For example, if you’re going to buy an artificial tree that’s already decorated, don’t get one that has too many lights or ornaments on it (or too few). Your child will likely find himself overwhelmed by the busyness of such a display that he’ll have trouble enjoying himself. Likewise, try not to go overboard with your menu planning — stick with traditional favorites like roast chicken and mashed potatoes rather than trying out new recipes this year just because they’re trendy at the moment.
- Don’t try too hard
It’s also important not to go overboard in terms of gifts for your child — remember that children with autism are often overwhelmed by sensory input so things like wrapping paper can become especially overwhelming for them during this time of year! As such, we recommend buying less expensive items instead — we’ve found that toys made from natural materials like cloth tend not only last longer but also work better for sensory processing issues when compared against more modern products made out plastics which tend only exacerbate these problems further due to their unnatural feel upon touch.”
Pick your battles
The most important thing to remember is that you can’t control everything. You might be worried about the party’s food or decorations, but if your autistic child refuses to eat anything but chicken nuggets and Cheetos, then don’t stress about it! Instead of worrying about what other people think about your party, focus on making sure your child has a great time.
Likewise, if your autistic child doesn’t want to wear the fancy dress that you spent hours picking out for them (or any clothes at all), then don’t stress over it! You’ll probably have better luck getting them into something else if you leave that battle for another day.
Find a routine that works for you
The best way to keep Christmas stress-free is to have a routine that works for you. This is easier said than done, but it’s worth it if your child can get used to the same patterns and build their own sense of security and familiarity.
There are many types of routines: some children like having a lot of structure, while others don’t. Some need lots of sleep at night, while others need less sleep during the day. You may find that a short routine works better than a long one or vice versa; this is something you’ll have to work out with your child. The key thing is finding what works best for them so they feel secure in the face of change—and Christmas brings plenty of change!
This holiday season can be a joyful and stress free time.
The holiday season can be a joyful and stress-free time for families with autistic children. Here are three steps to help you make the season fun for everyone:
- Prepare ahead of time, so you don’t have to scramble at the last minute.
- Keep expectations realistic, and focus on what can be done rather than what cannot be done.
- Make sure your family members know that they are free to enjoy themselves and not worry about anyone else’s behavior or needs during this special time together!
The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year and with these simple tips, you can ensure that this holiday season will be stress free for everyone. Making common sense accommodations for our loved ones who have autism does not have to make the holidays any less fun or sparkly. By using these tools and keeping your children’s needs in mind, you can enjoy a happy holiday season with your family!