Holidays are hard. I think they can be hard for adults and children, both typical and special needs. With the excitement, the magic and the wonder, comes the frustration, the over stimulation, and the lack of routine.
We live 3 hours away from where we grew up, and where our families still live. The good news about that is we get to see both sides of the during holidays. The bad part is that we’re away from home, and routine often for 4-5 days. We’re also away from many of the sensory diet tools that we use. The trampoline is just too big to bring, for example. Both grand parents houses are not exactly 5 year old friendly, but especially when that 5 year old has little to no impulse control. There are breakables, decorations, dogs (that are shy of kids, especially boisterous ones) and not a lot of space for unwinding time.
This year we have decided to stay at a hotel. I think it is going to be great to have a home base where we can rest and try to meet some of T’s needs. Though we won’t have some of the bigger sensory tools we have at home, we will be able to bring some of the smaller tools and have a nice quiet place to use them. I’m also looking forward to better sleep for all around, black out curtains are a must for T! I plan on bringing either his play dough or his bean box for some tactile stimulations so that his urge to touch everything in sight is numbed a bit.
Some other tools that I am glad we have this year are T’s headphones, and chewies. They will be huge help, especially when we’re in the loud and crowded environments that the holidays seem to mean for us. T gets very overstimulated when subjected to loud/busy places and being from very large families, that’s basically what we have for him… From family get togethers in small houses to Christmas Eve breakfast at a wonderful, though crowded, restaurant. This year I’m hoping these tools set T up for success rather than several days of sensory overload that borders on panic.
In the past, the easiest part of holidays with family has been the several hour car ride to and from our hometown. I’m hoping that this year is the start to some new traditions, and less tension.