Christmas Tips for SEN
Christmas can be a sensory overload time for many children, particularly for those with sensory processing challenges. To help we have created this page of tips and hacks from parents just like you.
It is all in the planning, start early and do it your way. Christmas is about family and if your family wants to be different then so be it. Do not feel like you have to follow the crowd.
- Put batteries in toys before the big day and remove all plastic and boxes, unless they're part of the experience.
- Plug in and set up any new consoles, and update/install any games you bought. Then, repack them if needed. Waiting for hours or all day for game updates can be frustrating.
- Space out the toys and avoid opening them all at once. Have a few out and some for the afternoon to avoid overwhelming anyone. If paper rustles are too much, consider not wrapping some gifts.
- If you are concerned about overload, ask family and friends to get you a gift card in advance and use them to buy a bigger present. Take a look at our Kid's Dream: Team Gift 🎁 page.
Visiting Family and Friends
Children invariably do not want to leave their new toys and the comfort zone to go visiting. Sometimes though it is necessary, so first thing get yourself a checklist - here is one we prepared earlier :) and a downloadable version.
- Get Wi-Fi passwords before your trip and set them up on your tablets and phones in advance.
- Bring familiar plates, knives, forks, and a water bottle for your child or anyone who needs them, along with any necessary medication. Also, carry a pharmacy label in case you need to get emergency stock.
- Prepare a social story for the back of the car, explaining where you will be sleeping during your trip.
- Pack replacement parts and a toolkit for any mobility aids you may be using.
- Wear a sunflower lanyard or car bumper sticker to indicate hidden disabilities. Many places are trained to give extra space, offer help, and provide a quieter place. All emergency services and the AA know what it means too.
Prepare your child with what to expect.
Children like routine and if this is going to change you can help by having some things in advance.