As most parents quickly realize, special needs children do not do well with stress. This is particularly true in the Christmas season when stress is nearly inevitable especially with all of the extra school events that are scheduled. It is vital that parents try as much as possible to create a peaceful, calm environment in their homes where both they and their special needs children can relax.
Parents need to plan time for just the family. It can be easy to get caught up in the swirl of activity that surrounds the holidays with school plays and concerts, church activities and party plans with family and friends. Parents should plan evenings at home where they can relax as a family with board games, books and other quiet activities.
In addition, parents should not have too many expectations for their children at home. Special needs children need to have some times when they can just let loose and be a little wild. This can be the time when they get rid of extra energy and decrease their anxiety levels by being noisier than usual. Creating a home environment where this is okay can be one of the best Christmas presents.
Families should focus on routine and may even want to create new, safe Christmas-time routines that they can continue in upcoming years. For example, parents may want to nix Christmas candles for safer LED lights and will also want to be very careful with extension cords that may be lying around the house this time of the year. Families could consider spending special times singing Christmas carols, telling Christmas stories or gathering around the Christmas tree with cups of hot cocoa.
There should be no guilt in the choice to bring in extra help. While families may be able to do just fine throughout the rest of the year, Christmastime is a great time to consider bringing in help with cleaning the house, cooking or even occasional childcare. The cost for these home helps is usually well worth the peace and lessening of stress that they bring.