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  • Writer's pictureChristine McCarty

The Holidays

Holidays are always stressful but is that the intended result? Shouldn’t we be enjoying the break, the time off and most importantly spending time with our loved ones?

In theory, this is the goal. To stop, look, listen, and appreciate all the blessings we have been given. In reality, this sometimes feels nearly impossible. Now add an additional level of stress if you have a special needs child. A child who doesn’t understand and can’t cope with change? Who wants everything to be the same or the way they see it in their head. I may be describing myself, but in all seriousness, how do you accomplish making the holidays enjoyable for everyone?

Like when I blogged about, Vacationing with a Special Needs Child, holidays are fairly similar. Below are the steps I take to provide the best opportunity for a successful holiday time!


Try and create some schedule for your special needs child. It might look different than their usual routine, but if I put in place some sort of routine and explain it to her repeatably, Addy tends to find comfort in knowing what to expect. Remember, they rely on routine to keep themselves regulated and calm as so many things are outside their control. I try and keep wake-up times, meals, and bedtime times/routines the same. It might be tough for them to be off their usual routine, away from home/their surroundings, so any type of routine can provide a level of comfort. When I put in place some sort of schedule for Addy that works with the holidays; she tends to enjoy herself more, and in turn so do I.


Plan, plan, plan! I know this sounds daunting or maybe impossible but having some sort of plan around the holidays is key for all kids. With a lot of downtime, having an activity a day makes the downtime more enjoyable. We often travel for holidays so finding popular attractions, zoos, museums, shows, etc., in the cites we visit are always great ideas. I like to plan activities outside the house to get up and moving. If we are visiting relatives/friends, I try and get an idea of what they have planned or ideas they might have.


This may seem like an odd step, but it’s probably the most important. Whether you are staying at a resort, visiting relatives/friends, or hosting a holiday at home, communicate expectations/limitations to each party (e.g., the hotel, relatives/friends, your own family and of course your special needs child). Having everyone on board, understanding the schedules and reasons for planning is key to a successful visit for all!

From my family to yours, wishing everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

Much love,

Raising Addy

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