It's holiday time! Yahoo! No school! Yahoo! Uh…Oh…You mean I'm stuck at home with my kids? My kids who have frequent meltdowns? My kids who thrive on structure? Don't sweat it. Here's a few tips for you and your special needs kids to keep you rolling smoothly through the holidays.
  • Plan ahead. Sit down with your children, spouse or best friends and brainstorm some indoor activities. Maybe choose a couple museums, but no need to break the bank. You can come up with some great inexpensive ideas such as art activities, stroll the malls, visit to the elderly, movie and some popcorn, story reading time and even a hike (bundle up!).
  • Structure it. Let your kids know ahead of time that you're going to stick to some structure. Have a daily schedule and post it up on the wall or refrigerator.
  • Eat and be merry. Make sure meals are planned and part of your day. If you're headed out for the day, pack well...snacks, drinks, sandwiches and so on.
  • Therapy Time. If your child is missing therapy, use this time to do some of it yourself. Do they need an obstacle course set up? Do they need some climbing time? Hugging time? Swinging time? Make sure these activities are scheduled as well.
  • Pull out the Games. It's game night. Pull out a family game of Apples to Apples or Backgammon. You can also try: Hide the Timer (set a timer and have everyone race to go find it), or Where's Heavy Herbert (find Herbert in your house). Just pick a game that everyone can enjoy together.
  • Journal It. Have your children keep a journal for what they do each day during vacation. They can do this digitally or in the old fashioned pencil-to-paper way. You can even get creative and create a 3D version with a box. Get a shoebox and have the kids put an object in it from each day with a note card explaining its relevance.
  • Snuggle up. This is a great time of year to just snuggle up and hang out on the couch together. Hey, there's nothing wrong with a little tube time during this time of year. Just keep it in moderation.
  • Look and Listen. Notice your kids and how they are handling the change in routine. Adapt and adjust if necessary. You'll be sure to have a wonderful holiday with some flexibility added into your holiday routines. Happy Holidays!!