Holidays are a fun time full of parties, decor, songs and lots of tasty treats. For some of us, this is what makes the holidays seem that much brighter but for children with anxiety disorders and kids who have sensory overloads easy, all the holiday cheer can bring on sensory overload which leads to meltdowns and anxiety. Here are some tips from parents who have a child with sensory processing disorder.

21) If you go to someone’s house for a party, bring food you know they will eat.

2) Avoid new clothes. Comfortable, familiar clothing will help create a sense of familiarity. If you want them to wear a specific outfit, practice wearing it at home first.

3) Keep plans as simple as possible. This will be more enjoyable for them and for you.

4) Don’t let others dictate how you and your kid(s) have to spend the holidays. If you are invited to something, arrive when you are ready and leave early if need be.

5) If you are sending your child to a relatives place, contact family members in advance to make them aware of potential issues and how you will be handling them. A simple letter in everyone’s Christmas cards a few weeks prior would be a good option.

6) Be direct. You may feel rude bringing up the topic of an aggressive dog to a potential host but if you don’t mention it, they will end up feeling bad when your child is upset. A better solution is to chat with the host in advance, let them know that this could be an issue and suggest options (a dog sitter perhaps) that could help.

7) Be aware of potential issues. Try to avoid scheduling events over nap time, for example.

8) Reduce the guest list.

9) Take the much needed breaks from the family and friends. It’s important for your child to have a bit of down time at a gathering. Half an hour reading together in a spare room or, weather permitting, a quiet walk outdoors, are a great way to give your little one the space they need.

Written by Cleo Neufeld

Cleo Neufeld

Before meeting the love of her life, Cleo was a single mother to a beautiful little girl for many years. She shares her expertise in single parenting, building a relationship, living on a budget and more.