Q. School breaks can be stressful because it’s a break in the routine. Do you have any advice on how to reduce the stress so we can enjoy the time off?
A. Families and their children are excited about the holiday season and/or school breaks; however, it can also be a stressful time. During their school break, a change in routine or schedule can be overwhelming! Here are some suggestions for you as a parent or primary caregiver to help you plan ahead and get through the holiday season and/or school break.
It is easy to be overloaded with running your typical errands, working on home projects and/or preparing for holiday festivities so preplan your activities! Create a visual calendar with pictures of your planned activities so your child can know what is happening next.
Let Them Be Your Amazing Little Helper
Children love to help and be in charge of something so make it a family affair! Create a short task or checklist for them to do to support you in the holiday and/or school break planning needs.
Reduce Stress & Allow More Time
Try to find ways to reduce stress for both you and your children during this time! Schedule in some quiet times throughout the day and create a space to “take a break” in your home. While running errands with your children, you should allow 5 to 15 minutes extra for changing from one activity to the next to help decrease anxiety, sensory overload or meltdowns.
Ask For Help
Ask your family and friends for support. Let them know ahead of time if you need support with childcare for employment, running errands, needing a break or prep time for visiting them for during the holidays. Discuss your children’s needs and share with them how important it is to follow your recommendations and instructions. This will make it a positive experience everyone.
Prepare A Bag of Activities & Goodies
When you are visiting family and friends, fill up a bag with things your children find tasty, comforting, sensory soothing and enjoys playing with. If your children get overstimulated or overwhelmed, work with your family and friends to find a quiet place for them. Pull out the bag and let your children choose what they want or need.