For more than 1 in 20 American kids, the “most wonderful time of the year” is an excruciating sensory overload of lights, holiday music, sugar and strangers.
But according to Brain Balance Achievement Centers — an organization that takes a holistic, drug-free approach to addressing behavioral, social, and learning difficulties in kids—there are five key steps you can take to de-stress the holidays for your little ones with sensory processing disorder.
Many might find Christmas music soothing, but it’s a trigger for many kids with SPD. Keep it down, or better yet, invest in kid-sized noise-canceling headphones.
Children with SPD can find affectionate hugs overwhelming and unwanted. Chat beforehand with your guests so everyone’s on the same page and the holidays can be as welcome as possible for the kids.
If your child old enough to self-regulate, sometimes simply going over the day’s events in advance is enough warning for them to prepare for any stressful activities. Talk to your child about what the day will entail so they’ll know what to expect.
Because diet is a key ingredient in many SPD care plans, you and your kiddo should avoid the mountains of holiday candy and sweets available, as well as other “treats” normally off-limits.
Hope for the best, but come prepared with a backup plan should the holidays be too overwhelming for your little one. It’s counterproductive to “force” the fun when what your child really needs is a routine and a safe space to de-stress.
Parents who think their child might have a social, behavioral or learning difficulty can take this simple online assessment: https://www.brainbalancecenters.com/our-program/childs-personalized-plan/online-assessment.