Kids & the Holidays: Parents, Be Thankful for the Benefits of Structure & Routine by Pepi Silverman
The holidays are filled with special activities, special foods and special events. All of that “special-ness” can create stress and anxiety in children, without the appropriate structure and preparation. By helping kids to understand what to anticipate, they’ll feel empowered instead of unsure or anxious. Before the frenzy of the holiday season takes over, prepare your children with the following activities:
- Create a social story of the new people, places and foods included in your holiday celebrations.
- Develop an activity schedule that will help your child anticipate new activities with built in time for rest and recoupment. Fatigue can increase the likelihood of meltdown behavior.
- Establish times for familiar routines to help your child feel grounded in the midst of new events.
- Reinforce good behavior with positive praise to acknowledge the demonstration of appropriate behavioral performance.
With advanced preparation, opportunities to learn about new activities “before” they occur, and maintaining familiar routines to keep structure in place, everyone can celebrate happy holidays.