The Holiday Sensory Minefield
Like it or not, Christmas is fast approaching!
Yep December is here and the holiday celebrations are starting to step up and impact everywhere you go.
Let’s think about that for a minute.
Then think about the big guy in the red suit bellowing Ho Ho Ho and approaching children. Think about the drive home and all the flashing lights, think about the radio in the car playing Christmas music all of a sudden. And this is just from going to the mall, even just going to get your groceries becomes a sensory minefield.
Expectations are high, there are lots of events with family, friends and co workers. Your kids are expected to behave during all these times that don't usually happen throughout the year, and certainly not all in such a small space of time. Let that all sink in for a minute, it's a pretty big ask for a small child still finding their way through regular emotions.
Watch For Changes & Be Prepared.
Children are entering the time of sensory overkill, and it can be very disruptive to some of them. You may notice small things like sleep patterns changing, moods changing, or they may just be stimming more than usual.
So what can we do? Let’s face it, unless we stay and hide indoors with the curtains drawn for the next little while there is going to be exposure to all this extra activity. The best course of action is almost always good preparation and communication.
Helping Can Be Easy
Finally, please consider all these things when you see a child looking distressed, when there is a parent looking like they are having a rough time coping themselves, or if someone is huddling, flapping, shouting or making other noises to help regulate themselves.
Sometimes a reassuring smile from a stranger says "You've got this, you're doing amazing" and can turn someones day right around ... from just a simple show of compassion and support. Plus, a smile costs nothing.
Wishing everyone a safe and successful holiday season from everyone here at Northwest Psychology Calgary.
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