2014 Military Special Needs Network Holiday Guide Winter 2014 - Page 8

Preparing Our Children for Holiday Schedule Changes by Olivia Kuntz

As we head into this magical time of year, there are many wonderful activities, celebrations

and parties to anticipate. However exciting this time of year is, it is important to help prepare

our kiddos for all of the hustle and bustle that accompanies THE HOLIDAYS. For whatever

holidays you may be getting ready to celebrate, a lot of these celebrations take our children

out of their normal routines, schedules and maybe even environments( if you are getting ready

to travel). Below are a few suggestions to help you help your children get ready for this time of


● Prepare a calendar of events so your child knows who they are going to visit, when

they are going, who they might see and how long they will be there.

● Identify a “safe” place if you will be in a new environment where your child can go to if

the celebrations get to be too much:

○ Make this a place that will help your child calm down, meet their sensory needs,

and is an OK place for them to go as much as they need

○Bring sensory items your child may need while in another environment.

● Remind them that if they need a break, it is OK to ask----communicate before going to

the celebration to help prevent meltdowns during the celebration

● Stick to normal routines as much as possible, even if students are out of school.

Keeping this structure will can help alleviate anxiety about the other “out of the norm”

activities that may be going on during this time of year.

● Rehearse conversations with your kiddos who may have a difficult time with

socializations, such as greetings, farewells, etc. As silly as this may sound, by giving

structure to our kiddos who especially don’t like to socialize will help them understand

what their expectations are. This is to help prevent your child having a meltdown

because they think they have to be social for an entire party.

8 2014 MSNN Holiday Guide / November, 2014