Holidays mean a lot of excitement, celebration, festivities and spending time with the family. It might sound very exciting and gala for us, but can be very tedious & overwhelming for an Autistic child. Does that mean that parenting a child suffering with Autism means no holidays at all – Certainly Not!
With a few precautions and tips, you can spend a wonderful vacation with your family and the Autistic child. Here are a few points to be remembered:
- Keep the time span shorter.
Lesser time limit means no over tiring schedules for the child. A lot of emotions & excitement can be a major problem trigger for the Autistic child. Short time span would help him balance himself as it won’t be as overwhelming for the child.
- Let him pick the activities of his choice.
In case the child is not willing, do not force him to join any activities. For instance, when the whole family is having dinner at the table, your child might not want to join them and rather sit at a calm place to have food. Let him do so, as it would comfort him the most.
- Stick to your daily schedule as much as possible.
If your child is used to sleeping at 8 in the night, do not keep him awake forcibly for longer hours. In case it is yet unavoidable, try giving him a nap in the healthy nap in the afternoon. Even your family would not like to meet an irritated kid full of laziness. Also, handling a sleepy child would also be a tough job for you as a parent.
- Distribute the activities over a few days.
It is not necessary to visit all the relatives in a single day. You must tale care that an Autistic child cannot handle a lot of new acquaintances together. Give him time and break so that he enjoys the meeting and family atmosphere rather than getting stressed. Even the family would love to meet your child when he is in the right mood and mind frame.
- Do not drag your child in to long hours of shopping.
Christmas rush in the malls and markets are often pissing off to the adults as well, then how do you imagine your child to tackle it so easily. All the more, a child suffering with Autism would naturally feel uneasy. So, look out for a good, qualified caretaker and let your child be at home while you are shopping. Else, leave the child with your spouse, or other responsible family member. Even as a parent, it would be tough for you to handle your child in such scenarios.
- Do not open all the presents at one go.
Kids are naturally attracted to presents and gifts. Their excitement is worth seeing to open the wrapper and unfurl the surprise. These emotions could be too overwhelming for the child and could act as triggers in Autism. Opening a few presents at a time would help your child bare the excitement and enjoy the festivity of Christmas in a better way. Let him relish the few pieces and after a few days open the rest.
- Do not disturb your child’s diet for the sake of fun.
In case your child is following a special diet plan be firm and re-assure that none of the family members share the restricted food with the child. Some people might be of the opinion that your diet plans are not beneficial or are not worthy enough. You must stick to your decision and follow your beliefs for the benefit of your child.
- Be with your Autistic child and let him feel the vacations.
Holidays at the core are all about having fun with the family. Do not alienate your child from the group. Include him in the fun and enjoyment along with the rest of the people and let him feel the vacation mood. Be optimistic and thank God for everything in life and make it a point to pass on this optimism to your child.
- Reward your child for his good behavior during the outings.
Children love to take challenges and win prizes. Reward your child for being good and behaving well while being with the family. This would give him a sense of achievement and drive him to behave better and avoid all sorts of mischievous behavior.
- Be patient when your child gets stressed out or shows anxiety.
Being a parent, it might call for a lot of planning and patience to go out on vacations with your child suffering with Autism. Yet, during holidays, try to forget the problems of daily schedules and have a wonderful time with your kid. Your stress and agitation would surely add to his anxiety and stress. Count on all the good things in life and relax your mind & heart.
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Mandu Usoro is a lifestyle blogger, freelance writer, experienced homeschooler and US Army Veteran with a BS Degree in Social Work and AA Degrees in Psychology as well as Health Care Administration. She enjoys spending time with her family, advocating for her special needs son and writing for fun and inspiration. You can get in touch with her on Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and at https://www.homeschoolspecneedstidbits.com/contact-us