Preparing for the Holidays

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Preparing for the Holidays, Christmas and Family Gatherings

This webinar is for any parent, extended family members, teachers or carer who is working with a child with additional needs - ADHD, ASD, ODD, PDA, RAD, Rare Chromo, trauma, out of home care or any other additional need.


This time of the year can really get a bit crazy! In this Webinar, Bobbi will provide you with a tonne of practical hints, tips and strategies to make these periods of time more successful.


What do you tell family members when you have to leave the Christmas party after 10 minutes because your child has already had a meltdown? What to do if you child loses it when you get home? How do you manage what your child eats at these crazy events? How do you get time to talk to your family and meet your child’s needs as well? How do you support your students to manage the reduced structure in the classroom, excursions and clean-up days?


Strategies for Christmas & the Holidays - Post Stress Model

  • Windows of Tolerance - yours, children, family members, etc.

  • Time  in Not Time Out - 100% present with the child, practicing breathing, this helps co-regulating the child

  • Be Proactive & Change What We Do - what do you need to change? (Numbers of people, how we do gifts, how we travel, where we stay, how long we go for, how long we stay, etc.)

  • We can't always be there

  • Everyone is always doing their best - you, the children, etc. Meltdowns will happen, often towards the end of the day when the child is tired. You cannot plan for every contingency.

  • In the Lead Up - start doing 4-7-8 breathing to calm the amygdala. Breath in for 4. Hold for 7. Breath out for 8. This is the quickest way to calm yourself. This will help you coregulate the child. You can start now and do it when you are putting them to bed. Increase protein and water to help support their bodies which are more stressed than normal. They don't need more sugar. Remind them of the Christmas plan.

  • The Night Before Christmas - this is a critical time. Plan and let them know what will happen.

  • Theory of Mind - the ability to put yourself in someone else's shoes and imagine what their experience and have empathy and modify your behaviour. Your child may not have Theory of Mind. Considering this is helpful. They often can't understand that we can empathise with them.

  • On the Morning of Christmas or Travel - get up early, have a quiet cuppa, go and sit with your child and wake them up and just be with them and reassure them. Give them their normal breakfast - keep to their regular breakfast and minimise the junk food.

  • Gifts & Surprises - wrapped, unwrapped, under the tree, etc. Work out what is right for your child.

  • These are not hard and fast rules. Try and them out.

  • Siblings - don't overlook them, find them a champion, bring them in on the plan, explain what you are doing them, give them a melt down safety box, have a plan so they don't miss out.

  • Extended Family  - prepare them and tell them the plan and what you need. Take food and items that are familiar to your child. Be firm with the adults. Stagger family visits.

  • Allow for Transitions - if possible, turn off devices 30 minutes before you arrive or visitors arrive. Tell them when they will get access to the device again.



Brian Post

Heather T. Forbes

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