Category Archives: Christmas

reindeer food sensory christmas

Reindeer Christmas Crafts

Reindeer Christmas Crafts

There is nothing better than building up the excitement to Christmas with some crafting. I find that the structure also helps my Sensory Seeker cope with the sheer chaos of Christmas and lack of routine. Sven is a favourite character from the hit film Frozen and so I thought that this year our Sensory Seeker would appreciate making some reindeer Christmas crafts.

Reindeer Christmas CraftI love this little craft as it is so simple but so personal. Simply cut out the shape of the head and paint brown, whist also making 2 hand prints. Once dry glue together and add a tissue paper red nose, and two black eyes. Thread it up with a “Stop here Santa” sign and one at the back to hang up.

This was good because my Sensory Seeker LOVES to paint. And the cutting, sticking and threading is fantastic for his fine motor development.

Or what about letting them lose with tape to make a Reindeer – for a mess free craft idea. It can be made by letting them stick freestyle, or you can draw the lines on the paper for them, or they could copy from an image in front of them. Afterwards you could let them colour inside it or glue some glitter and/or Christmas shapes inside.

Or if your child has some patience then why not make a Reindeer from a toilet roll holder. We painted him brown and let him it dry, before simply adding the eyes, pompom nose and feather ears. This was part of our Toilet Roll Holder Advent from last year.

 

 

 

 

See also Reindeer Puppets by RedTedArt

Christmas Cards and The Sensory Seeker

Christmas Cards and The Sensory Seeker

How we are going to cope with Christmas this year is to be organised. I have cut right back on any blogging opportunities because I know that what is important is my Sensory Seeker (and the rest of my family). So far we have some Christmas lights up – helping to break him in slowly whilst providing a bit of Sensory input. The major difference this year is that our Sensory Seeker has already written all of his Christmas Cards.

Christmas Cards and The Sensory Seeker

Christmas Cards and The Sensory SeekerMy reasoning for our Sensory Seeker writing his Christmas cards now are for several reasons. The first is that the Christmas tree is already up at school, he has seen Father Christmas and is starting to rehearse for the Christmas production. This means it is the beginning of him requiring a bit of extra special care and attention to the spiralling confusion that is Christmas. Our Sensory Seeker is doing well so far – with just the one question on his lips, “Is it Christmas tomorrow?” I shall be glad when advent comes so he can visually see how many days there are left. I know as Christmas gets closer he will just get more disorientated with it all and tired. As I have already mentioned he is struggling with his writing and the school are considering him using an iPad – so writing cards is no easy task for him. I wanted him to have the best opportunity to write them and too close to Christmas I felt was fighting a losing battle. Plus after he has managed to write all of his Christmas cards I would just hate for a child to be off sick and not receive it!

Quality Time with Sensory Seeker writing Christmas Cards

Christmas Cards and The Sensory SeekerWriting Christmas cards has given us a bit of quality time together, as I help sound out the words, plus guide his spacing and positioning of the words. I love to see how our Sensory Seeker has developed so much since last Christmas, his writing and his attention span. He is trying his best to do joined up writing too. He actually finished off writing his cards whilst he waited for his brother in his swimming lesson. I am so so proud that he started to remember how to write from and his name. How I tackled it was for him to write “To” and “From …..” in all of his Christmas cards, and then in another setting he added in all the names and wrote on the envelopes.

How do you tackle Christmas Cards? Do you avoid them? Start early? Leave it to the last minute?

Ethans Escapades
3 Children and It

 

Christmas with Special Needs

Christmas Special Needs – Adapting life to make things easier

Christmas Special Needs

Christmas special needs can make things more difficult. We have learnt that the best way to cope with it, is it to adapt things to fit with our children’s needs. My oldest, and now my youngest, son do not like the disruption to the routine (a lot less so for my oldest now, so I feel there is hope for the youngest as he ages). When my oldest was younger Christmas Special needs meant that  he did not like the absence of  doing things he liked at school (such as maths) , and it being replaced by things he did not like such as singing and dressing up. The structure was gone and the visual and auditory stimulation was high. It was such a difficult time that I really could not tell you what happened. It is all a bit of a blur. I remember that I just kept telling myself that his behaviour would settle as soon as Christmas was over, and the routines had resumed (well at least until Easter anyway). This is pretty much how things are for my youngest now. My oldest accepts the change much more easily now (he’s 17 years old the end of the month), but just wants to play computer games all the time.

Christmas Special Needs – The Christmas Dinner

Christmas with Special needs is the reason that the Christmas dinner came to happen on Christmas Eve. I really could not cope with an undiagnosed child at Christmas  Special needs ( Aspergers), cooking Christmas dinner and doing all the other Christmas things.  I was a lone parent and he was a fussy eater. Trying to encourage him to stop playing his latest game and come and eat veg was never going to happen. But by moving Christmas dinner to Christmas Eve then I could encourage him to eat with the promise of a visit from Father Christmas. It also meant that it left me free to help him deal with Christmas Day – as I was not in the kitchen cooking.

Christmas Special Needs

 Particularly advantageous if he was getting frustrated with his new toys, as well as being able to sit and encourage him play socially with me. Instead Christmas Day consists of eating foods he likes – picking on cold meat, curry snacks, fruit, chocolate, mince pies, crisps and the like, as and when (a break in the game allows). On a practical note, you can always run to the shops if you have forgotten to buy something too (like my pigs in blankets last year!) It has also become our tradition and I think it has many advantages, not just for children with special needs.

Christmas Special Needs – The Decorations

This year we have gone one step further to help cope with Christmas special needs by having not put up any of the decorations (well we have the odd one or two). We have always put the tree and everything up on the 1st December, but when I noticed my youngest son being more ‘spinny,’ distant and wetting himself at least daily, and realised that it had happened as soon as the school had their tree/decorations up I decided that we would delay it. One day he was particularly distressed (he’s really touching people a lot more) and had to come home from school, I noticed how much he settled in the non-stimulating environment. It is hard, and our 6 year old is desperate for the tree to go up – but we just discussed putting the tree up to our youngest and he went wild and hurt said 6 year old. We had to monitor him for ages after that. Luckily my husband breaks up from work on the 17th so there will be 2 of us around, allowing one to cook and one to look after him, so we are waiting to put the tree up then. If he could not have had the time off we were considering just letting the boys decorate their room (as oldest and youngest have separate rooms) and have a tree in there.

Christmas Special needs

Christmas Special Needs – Aspects of Christmas enjoyed

We thought about the aspects that they do like and those to avoid when considering Christmas special needs. All  the boys have advent calendars – which helps them count down to the big day – so there is still some excitement, preparation for it. We have taken the youngest to see Father Christmas, and got him to talk about what presents he would like. These are the aspects of Christmas that he enjoys, and plenty of dressing up too. He also has his visual aid book at school – so he still knows what to expect, to some extent, at school, and makes it feel structured for him, and let him know how much of the school day is left.

Christmas Special Needs – Rewarding the coping

We are rewarding our youngest with computer time (his favourite activity) at the end of most days, just to help him cope/focus. We are having to really be aware of his toileting, and regularly taking him, as this is an area he is really struggling with during the festive season.  I think it is important to remember that no matter how difficult we may find his behaviour is to deal with, it is a million times worse for him, that it is his inability to cope and anxieties showing.

I have not mentioned Autism in this post as it has been decided that it is not what my youngest son has. I need to write a post about that but really finding it difficult. I do still feel that whether it is consider as Autism or not then the methods used to help him remain the same so have looked on the NAS at their help with Christmas advice.

If anyone else has any help and/or advice on coping with Christmas I would really appreciate them sharing it in the comments.

See also Christmas is coming and my son is getting stressed – over on the Special Needs Jungle – talking about Christmas with her teenage son with Aspergers.

Sensory seeker eating nicely - concentrating on the positives when having a bad day

Bad days

Sometimes a bad day happens and it is amplified by the fact that it isn’t just a bad day, it is another bad day, with yet another meltdown. That if you have any time and energy left after fighting the bad day to look for help that you are met with either a brick wall or blame. It seems that this blame seems to occur more when there do not seem to be any answers – instead of just saying sorry we sympathise but we do not know what to do. Throwing In the towel of despair will not help anyone so trying to find the positives will help a lot.

I try to think about what may be causing the bad day. Is it a change in routine – such as a new school, Christmas (is a big one), Easter, school holidays, a new baby, a change of house.  For me, the easiest ways to deal with them are to tell myself that they will not last forever. Actually once the routine returns things will be easier. It helps by trying to make things as normal and routine as possible. I simply found over the holidays that keeping busy was enough to distract him from feeling anxious. Are their needs being met? –have they moved about enough that day, do their clothes feel right, is it too noisy, not bright enough. If not is there anything that can be done to help meet their needs.

Ethans Escapades

Focus on their achievements. I am loving the amazing achievement linky over on Ethan’s Escapades because it really is giving me something to focus on the positive each week. When days are hard I can just remind myself about how far he has come. His language development, how he is getting himself dressed, putting on his own shoes, learning to listen, wait, eating better and try to empathise with others. He was angry at school yesterday and he locked himself in the toilet (by standing behind the door). His one to one managed to get him to come out and I am proud to say that he apologised – what an achievement that i. He is back in group swimming lessons now, and he is doing so well that I am able to take my other two children into the main pool and swim at the same time.

Sensory seeker eating a picnic concentrating on the positive

Think about others. Could your situation be worse? Sometimes thinking about how things aren’t actually that bad do help. Maybe looking back and asking yourself if this is your worst day. Then maybe if the answer is yes then tomorrow could be a better day. Remember you probably aren’t alone and there are many other parents in a similar situation. This is especially useful if it has been suggested that you “attend a parenting course,” which is something I hear of a lot.

Make time for yourself – don’t forget that you are important too. Whether that is looking after your health – not skipping on breakfast, to getting some quiet time to read a book, have a bath.

What about you? How do you handle a bad day? Are there any strategies that help the child? What about ways to help you deal with the day?