I love everything about the holiday season, from the chill in the air to food and decorations, but having a child with special needs can add a layer of challenge to the holidays. In the early years of our son Jacob’s life, I worried about holiday outings as a family. Jacob is on the autism spectrum. We also have an older daughter is typically developing. The majority of our early parenting with Jacob involved doing things separately because we feared the cost was too great to be together and have to bail. It was extremely stressful. Navigating the crowds to take a picture with Santa — not worth it!
Over time, and after many failed attempts and some success, we are able to experience holiday events together. Learning to manage my stress and anxiety dramatically changed the overall interactions we have around the holiday season, and our family is able to be together and enjoy each other’s company. Below are some ideas to keep your stress at bay as you embark on the season.
Focus on the memories and not the gift.
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