Christmas can be a difficult time. There is a lot of hype around the event. Normal routines, generally, are not followed. School stops, trees and lights appear, visitors, presents, shopping, dinners etc. When none of this is part of a normal routine, it can be hard to cope with. So, how can we make it an easier time? Read on.
Don’t go mad!
Keep it low key, if you can. Try not to have too many visitors at once. If you do have lots of visitors, have a space, ideally a quiet, Christmas-free space available. This space can then be used at any time, when a break is needed. If you are going to someone elses house, plan in some breaks, perhaps a walk to get some fresh air, and to get away from the possible sensory overload.
Prepare for the upcoming busy days. Talk about it in advance. Perhaps have a calendar with the main events laid out on it. (see our last blog https://earlyactionforautism.co.uk/blogg/whatarevisuals) This way, who is coming or where you are going is not going to be a surprise. When will the tree go up? When will you see the family? When will you go for a walk? Plan for the whole Christmas period, not just Christmas day.
Bare in mind how overwhelming the decorations could be. Are flashing lights likely to be difficult to manage? Perhaps avoid having too many decorations in one place. Maybe have a couple of rooms with no decorations at all.
Presents can be hard to understand. Who are they for? When can they be opened? There might be lots of them, and what’s inside may be a surprise. Perhaps reduce the number of presents, or spread them out over a number of days. If you do this, it might be worth keeping them out of the way. Consider not wrapping them, but having them in a gift bag.
Plan the Christmas meal in advance. Discuss it in advance if possible. Might there be different cutlery or table decorations? Does it matter if not everyone eats a traditional meal? Perhaps this could be part of the day where the normal daily routine continues, and a favourite meal is on offer.
The thought of a strange man coming into the house in the night might be scary, so think about how you approach this. The idea of Santa bringing presents to only the good children may be very stressful.
We hope some of these tips are useful. Any questions? Do get in touch.