While breaks from school are a welcome period of relaxation for some, the disruption of routine and the abundance of activity could prove the exact opposite for your child with autism. If you’re worried that the upcoming winter break could result in stress and anxiety instead of fun and joy, here are some tips that will help you and your family make the most of the holiday season.
Anticipate The Change
School offers structure and routine to a child’s day, and the sudden absence of classes or regular activities can be stressful for children with autism. To combat this anxiety, help them understand their schedule over winter break. For example, if you’re going to be traveling over the holidays, review every step of the journey with them as often as necessary.
Strive For Similarity
Despite all of the unavoidable changes that come with the holidays, try to keep your child’s routine as consistent as you can. Something as simple as maintaining the same sleeping schedule could go a long way toward soothing your child’s anxiety. It’s also a good idea to give your child structured activities that resemble their normal routine. Consider keeping playtime and other daily activities in place so the hard work you put into creating their routine doesn’t go to waste.
Practice New Activities
While certain activities (such as a plane trip or family gathering) can’t be practiced in advance, there are other, smaller activities you can practice with your child in small doses to help prepare them. For example, if your winter break involves a road trip to visit family, you may want to practice by going on longer car rides than normal and making sure your child has activities that will keep them occupied and happy while you’re on the road.
Winter break is a huge change for your child, so it’s important to let them keep whatever elements of comfort they can. As we mentioned in our post about Thanksgiving Day, it may be a good idea to let your child wear the outfit they feel most comfortable in instead of something new or fancy for the holiday.
Cherish The Moment
Most important of all, remember to enjoy the season and your time with your family. No matter what you have planned during your break, or how much or little you prepare, this special time only comes once a year. From all of us at Trumpet, we wish you and your family a happy holiday season and a wonderful new year!
Contact Us to learn more about helping your child have a safe, joyous winter break.