Family Holiday Tips & Christmas Countdown Events in Utah
Make this holiday season more manageable for caregivers and families with disabilities. Consider these following tips:
- Keep it simple- Talk with your partner and what you both feel is important for your family to attend, do or try this holiday season. A simple meal together during the season may be more important than a huge holiday meal. You can also have a family meeting with input from the kids about what events they are okay missing and which ones are a must!
- Let go of guilt (or at least try to!)- This may be easier said than done! Your family doesn’t have to do it like everyone else. If you have to forgo putting up a tree this year, that is ok! Covering your windows in lights might be festive enough. The key is to do what works best for you and your family this year, even if it doesn’t follow traditional rules.
- Your family comes first– This one can be tough to do, but choosing to meet the needs of your family and forgoing every party invite might be a healthy decision. Making everyone happy should not be the reason to attend.
- Leave early—really? Yes! Your family’s schedule is important! The only person who has to deal with the consequences of pushing your child past their limit is you.
- Bring your own food– Sensory diets can get tricky at family gatherings and events. Even if people think it is a bit odd, remember that your child will find comfort in having their familiar option available.
- Come Prepared – Consider having those noise-canceling headphones on hand or have a backpack of activities for when your child is overwhelmed or bored. You may want to think of a job your child can do to stay busy and feel important. Have them collect coats, hand out gifts, or be the door greeter. Have an inclusive activity prepared to bring along where everyone can join in! Grandpa can show his coloring skills on a paper tablecloth along with the kids!
- Pre-teaching is a thing– Walk through expectations such as behavior and self-regulation strategies ahead of time. For your visual learner, have a picture schedule of things they may be doing at the event or have a conversation with your child using example questions like, “When you are feeling overwhelmed when Aunt Rachel asks you a question, what can you do?” Role-play social cues prior, so your child can be more successful and lessen some anxiety. Sharing a daily plan with the family can also be helpful but consider the needs of each person. One child may need to know the full schedule, while another may need an hour-by-hour update.
- Self Love- Tell yourself that it is okay, even if it doesn’t go as planned, and believe it. There is no such thing as perfection and you deserve to go easier on yourself. You are doing your best!!!
Free calendar for Christmas at-home ideas: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ygBf6AIExh_YhddMa2Cxt6odhik9TU0h/view
101 Family Ideas for Holiday Fun in Utah: https://saltlakecity.kidsoutandabout.com/content/101-ideas-holiday-family-fun-salt-lake-city-area
Utah’s Adventure Family Christmas Event Ideas: https://www.utahsadventurefamily.com/category/christmas/
Utah Valley Event Calendar: https://www.utahvalley.com/events/
Cedar City Calendar Holiday Events: https://visitcedarcity.com/events/