Festivals are meant to be enjoyed with family and friends, and that means festive dinners and gatherings. But these events aren’t so easy for a child with special needs. Here are our tips for handling the festive activities of the holiday.
For the holiday gatherings and dinners you’ll be attending, create a plan and a timeframe. Prepare your child by explaining the plan or schedule beforehand and tell your child who will be at the event / dinner.
A plan can note the time you will leave the house, when you will eat, and when you plan to leave the event. This helps your child prepare for what’s coming and will put him or her at greater ease.
If you can show your child photos of the friends or family members who will be at the event (especially those they don’t see very often), this will also help.
Getting dressed up is one of the joys of the holiday. While you may enjoy dressing up for a holiday event, don’t insist that your child do the same. Children with sensory issues may feel uncomfortable in festive clothes – scratchy silk kurtas and dupattas that don’t stay in place can turn a fun event into an unhappy one. You’re better off letting your child wear what he or she is most comfortable in.
If possible, discuss your child’s needs with your family and friends beforehand. A child with special needs may struggle to sit still, have a hard time managing emotions and ignore social norms like greeting others or thanking the hosts. Things might go more smoothly if your host is told about your child’s challenges before the event.
If you think the event will be too long for your child to handle, let your family members / hosts know in advance that your visit will be shorter.