Holiday Survival Tips From An OT

LLA Therapy Occupational Therapist, Nicole Torres, gives tips on making the holiday season a success for you and your family!

We all know that the holidays can be a trying time under the best of circumstances, but what if your child has difficulties with fine motor skills, feeding skills, sensory processing skills???? This can make the holidays even more challenging.  Here are a few tips from an OT (and a mom of a 5 year old with difficulties in all of the above listed areas).

Make sure that your child is well rested.

-Try to visit the craziest (loud, crowded, overwhelming) places when your child is likely to be at his or her best.

-Try to arrive on-time instead of fashionable late so that the volume and people in the room increase over time, instead of having your child walk into a very loud, very crowded place.

-Feed your child ahead of time or pack food if you know that he or she will likely not want to eat what is being served.  This will decrease the stress for  you and your child and your host/hostess will not need to go out of his/her way

-Bring your own utensils and/or cups to avoid excess mess.

-If you have a messy eater (or just a small child), bring a bib or separate shirt/outfit to eat in so that no one has to stress over keeping clothes clean for pictures, etc.

-Limit sugary drinks and desserts to avoid the sugar high and crash!  Water down the punch, give a specific number of dessert items your child may have.

-Provide your child with a countdown to departure.  “Suzy Q, we are leaving in about 15 minutes….You have about 10 more minutes to play with cousin John….In 5 minutes it will be time to say goodbye.”  If you are leaving somewhere near bedtime, you may want to bring some PJs to set the stage for winding down and make the transition into bed as painless as possible if he or she falls asleep on the way home

-And finally, the most important tip that I can offer you as a parent….DO NOT take anything your relatives say to you personally!  They are not you, they do not live in your home, they do not know your child as well as you do, or live your life on a daily basis.  Whatever they say comes from their own perspective and experience, whatever that may be, so as Elsa says…..”LET IT GO, LET IT GO!”