The holidays offer occasions for time with family and friends. Yet for many, the season is accompanied by extra stress. This is especially true for families of children and adults with special needs, when gatherings can take extra planning.As we welcome the holiday season, let’s consider ways of limiting stress and consider ways of being available and present to others.Here are some ideas:
- When planning an activity, prepare a back-up plan.
- Change is difficult for children and adults with special needs. Allow family members time to process changes in routine. Be sensitive to their signals and know when they’re reaching overload.
- Simplify the decorating of your home and remember that the focus is on spending time with your guests.
- Remember that meals are best enjoyed when shared, and should not be so difficult that they keep you in the kitchen away from your loved ones.
- Put away digital devices and fully connect with friends and family.
- Practice gratitude, even when days are tough.
- Contact Parents Helping Parents for strategies on dealing with stress.
Mary Ellen Peterson, M.A.