It’s my kids’ favorite holiday, and we’re getting ourselves ready for eight nights full of celebration. This year, Hanukkah starts at sundown on November 27th, so we've had some time to change gears from eating Thanksgiving turkey to decorating the house with dreidels and menorahs.
For those of you who don’t know, Hanukkah is a celebration of the Jews' victory in a battle to reclaim their temple from the Syrian army. In order to rededicate their temple, the Jews needed oil to light their “eternal flame” candle. They thought they only had enough oil to burn for one day. However, a miracle occurred and the oil lasted for eight days, giving the Jews enough time to make more oil. This is why the holiday is called the “Festival of Lights” and is celebrated by lighting candles for eight nights.
Any holiday can disrupt a family’s routine. One that is eight nights long can really change things up. My son, with all his sensory issues, can’t sit through an organized Temple Tots celebration or anything like that. So for a successful holiday, we’ll be doing all our celebrating at home, just like I did when I was a kid. And this year, we’ll be making our Hanukkah sensory friendly.
We’ll be celebrating the eight nights of Hanukkah with all eight senses - the seven senses of sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing, vestibular and proprioception, plus the latest sense in the world of sensory processing: introception. Here’s how our family will focus on one sense for each night:
Night 1: Proprioception On this night, we’ll light the first candle in the menorah and focus on our joints and muscles. This is a great way to start the holiday week, because this is what my son craves the most. Our activities are also a perfect way to kick off our celebration. To get him the proprioceptive input he needs, my son and I will first start by cleaning up the house – dusting and vacuuming and putting away all the toys. He’ll also be in charge of carrying the presents into our living room for that first night. This heavy lifting will help exercise all the parts of his body, and stacking the presents in piles for each family member will help with his muscle control. On this first night, we’ll start to make some traditional Hanukkah desserts to be cooked in oil, so I’ll have him stir up the cookie batter for extra sensory input in the kitchen.
All this heavy work and controlled movements will help us build up his sensory deposits for the rest of the holiday week. By starting off with proprioception, we’re setting ourselves up for a calm week ahead. ...continue reading
After a combination of a recent trip over the mountains to visit my family as well as the holidays that are barely done, I have felt a growing need to write up and educational pamphlet
This morning, as I gave my heart a hug as he squirmed, a kiss on the top of his delicate forehead, and helped hoist his little 3.5-year old frame up a set of school bus