The holiday season is filled with fun activities, plenty of tasty food, and visits with extended family members — a recipe for a happy social time. But for kids with learning, behavioral and social issues due to conditions such as ADHD and processing disorders, it often becomes a time of confusion and frustration. Use these holiday social tips for kids to help your child prepare for family visits, whether at home or away.
Breathe and Relax
Sensory overload often causes kids with social issues to melt down. Show your child some relaxation techniques, such as breathing exercises, and how to use them to calm down. Simple yoga movements may also help and are a good way to release tense muscles.
Earplugs, sunglasses and headphones assist in canceling out noise and bright lights, so encourage your child to take these items on outings with family.
Take Advantage of Time Out
Children who struggle socially often need to have some time out to gather themselves or burn off surplus energy. Whether it's a few minutes away from the dinner table, an evening at home or at your hotel without any extended family present, or a run around the garden or local park, encourage your child to use that time to recoup and recharge.
Explain beforehand to your friends and family that your child sometimes needs to move away from what's happening at the time. A good way to help them understand is to say that your doctor recommended this if your child became overwhelmed with holiday activities.
Remember to be Polite
Just because it's the holiday season, it doesn't mean that good manners can be discarded. However, some kids hate being kissed and hugged, especially by people whom they hardly know. As the festivities draw near, prepare your child with role-play; perform the part of long-lost Aunty May or affectionate Grandma Sally. Show your child how to shake hands, give a big smile instead of a hug, and respond enthusiastically with a verbal greeting. Some warning beforehand to family members may help avoid hurt feelings.
Give the Secret Signal
Ask your child to give you a secret signal when help is needed. Have fun deciding on the indicator, and use simple ideas, such as a nod, wink or tapping of fingers on a table. When your child gives the sign, respond quickly.
The best way to handle kids' social issues and family visits during the holiday season is for you and your child to be prepared. Relaxation techniques, time out, and politeness all contribute to your child having a pleasant time.
To schedule an assessment for your child, or to learn more about how the Brain Balance Program can help your child reach their full potential, contact us online or find a center near you.
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