Thursday, November 21, 2013

Holiday Stress Busters for Parents of Autistic Children
One of the happiest – and most stressful – times of the year is right around the corner.  Although the Holidays are known as the time of the year when families get together to catch up, dine and tell one another how much they care for each other, the Holidays also bring cramped parking at the malls, endless shopping to find the best deals on the hottest toys and trying to find the time to clean and decorate the house before out-of-town family arrives.  Oh, did I forget to mention sleep? 
Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas can provide memories that last a lifetime, but, if your life is already stressful, the Holidays can become overwhelming.
In honor of the upcoming holiday season, I’d like to take this opportunity to give parents of autistic children a few ideas to beat seasonal stress.
·         The Holidays are a time of marvels and sensations.  Connect to your sense of wonder.  Does your child find peace in the tranquility of looking at holiday lights?  Try the Garden of Lights at Brookside Gardens where kids can walk quietly to admire the light displays if they need time for inner reflection or can run through the gardens if they need physical activity to regulate themselves.  This family favorite can be as quiet or as loud as your child needs.  Let’s face it.  If your children are happy and having fun, you’ll be less stressed and can take time to enjoy the seasonal lights too.
·         Keep track of holiday schedules.  Families’ day-to-day schedules are hectic, but adding holiday recitals, family dinners and school parties can be stressful for everyone.  Keep a calendar displaying events for each family member.  This will help children to mentally prepare for the outing and will also help you limit activities.  If your calendar is becoming too much to handle for you and your child, don’t feel guilty about declining invitations.  Instead of trying to pack three parties into one day, clear your schedule for a night and stay home to play a family game or watch a movie.  Nothing can help you feel better about your family’s holiday season than to watch America’s favorite, dysfunctional family, the Griswalds, in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”
·         Know that you’re not alone.  Many families of autistic children find that speaking to parents of other special needs children gives them much needed support and a sounding wall for ideas. Check out these organizations that offer family services and support groups – Autism Speaks, The Autism Society of America, The National Autism Center and the National Autism Association.  Additionally, visit these resources on Facebook to learn about community events, family meet-ups in your area or share your personal experiences – AutMont, Autism Discussion Page, Autism Sparks, Autism: Different, Not Less and Autism Awareness.  If you live in the Washington, D.C., area, join this great parent group – Maryland Moms of Autistic Children.
·         Define success for your family.  Every family doesn’t have to have a Martha Stewart holiday season with a perfectly trimmed tree, beautiful buffet centerpieces and songs happily sung by an open fire.  Don’t place undue stress on yourself and your family by trying to live up to unrealistic expectations that you place upon yourself.  As long as your family has fun and shares a few laughs, the Holidays will be a great success!
I want to wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday season.  And, I hope you join me at this blog for lively discussions and ideas to bring fun and happiness to your families.
For additional resources for special needs families, visit



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  7. Parenting during the holiday season can be both joyful and stressful. To manage stress and create a more enjoyable atmosphere for your family, consider these stress-busters and tips. Plan and prioritize tasks: Create a to-do list and focus on the most important ones while letting go of less crucial activities. Set realistic expectations for what you can accomplish during the holiday season. Budget wisely: Create a holiday budget and stick to it, considering alternatives to expensive gifts like homemade gifts or experiences. Delegate and share responsibilities: Share tasks and responsibilities with your partner, family members, or friends, and involve children in age-appropriate holiday preparations and chores. Simplify traditions: Evaluate your holiday traditions and simplify where possible, focusing on the ones that bring you the most joy and letting go of the rest. Prioritize self-care: Take time for yourself to relax, unwind, and recharge. Practice mindfulness or meditation to reduce stress and stay present in the moment. Ask for help: Don't be afraid to ask for help or support when needed. Friends and family members can be valuable resources, and hiring help for tasks like cleaning or babysitting can ease your workload. Maintain healthy routines: Stick to your regular routines, limit screen time, practice gratitude, stay organized: Use calendars and apps to manage schedules and shopping lists, learn to say no: Decline invitations or commitments that add unnecessary stress to your schedule, and prioritize events and activities that truly matter to your family. Reach out for support: Connect with other parents or support groups who may be experiencing similar holiday-related stress. Remember that the holiday season is about spending quality time with loved ones and creating cherished memories.Bufete de Abogados de Accidentes de Motocicleta

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    1. Make a list of holiday priorities and focus on what truly matters to you and your family. Avoid overcommitting to events or activities.
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    3. Delegate tasks to your partner, family members, or friends to lighten the load.
    4. Establish simple and meaningful traditions that bring joy without causing stress.
    5. Practice self-care by taking time for relaxation, such as reading a book or taking a walk.
    6. Stick to a budget for gifts and other expenses, considering homemade gifts or creative alternatives.
    7. Say no when needed to prioritize your well-being and focus on what truly matters.
    8. Use technology to your advantage, such as online shopping, digital holiday cards, and virtual gatherings.
    9. Focus on mindfulness techniques like deep breathing or meditation to stay grounded and reduce stress.
    10. Get support from friends or family members by discussing your feelings and seeking their perspectives or assistance.
    11. Stay active through physical activity, such as walking or stretching exercises, to boost mood and energy levels.
    12. Schedule buffer time between activities to avoid feeling rushed and provide moments of relaxation.
    13. Accept help from others graciously, whether it's assistance with cooking, childcare, or decorating.
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    1. Plan and prioritize activities and events: Create a realistic holiday plan that includes a realistic schedule to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
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  24. As a parent of an autistic child, the holiday season can bring added stress and challenges. It's important to prioritize self-care and find strategies to manage the holiday season effectively. Some stress busters for parents of autistic children during the holidays include creating a visual schedule to help your child anticipate and prepare for upcoming events, setting realistic expectations for family gatherings, and finding quiet moments for both you and your child to recharge. Additionally, reaching out to support groups or online communities can provide a sense of connection and understanding during this busy time. Remember, it's okay to take breaks, ask for help, and prioritize your well-being as you navigate the holiday season with your autistic child.

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