The Excitement Anxiety Holiday Dance

holiday expectations for neurodiverse children holidays Nov 20, 2023

Around this time of year dread can kick in if your children have difficulty in the midst of hustle bustle, glasses clinking, crowded rooms, too much of everything, and not enough regulation.

There are a few things you can do to save yourself a little grief.

1. Radically accept that things will go however they go and you are not in charge of it nor can you control it.

2. You can front load ahead of friend and family gatherings.  Send a sweet and loving email to all giving them a lens through which to see your children and some suggestions for handling the inevitable. 

It could sound something like this:

Dear Family,

Please know that our children are very excited to spend time with all of you and, at the same time, they have a hard time in noisy, busy, familiar, and unfamiliar spaces. 

If my child does something that seems mean, wrong, or selfish, let me know rather than correcting in the moment.  That will allow me to use the parenting strategies that work best to keep the peace and to insure the gathering is not disrupted by upset.

If I have to excuse myself with my children early, please support my decision and help me get my things together so that I can make a timely exit with my kids.  They will want to stay, but I know my children and I will know if we need to leave.  Thank you in advance.

3. Sadly, some friends and family just can't follow your lead.  Accept them.  Thank them.  And, keep your lid on.  Your lid is the most important one in the room.  Keep it on by regulating yourself a lot.

4. Sorry to say this, but your children may not be ready for prime time at family/"friendy" gatherings.  It's okay to say no for this year.  I know we all spent time alone during the pandemic, so we are excited to be somewhat back to normal.  Then again, sometimes normal is too much for our children.  You know your kids best.  

5. Hey, lids flip.  It is what it is.  Remember, connection is the best correction.  Go close.  Be loving.  Be supportive.  Accept with empathy.  You are not a failure because your child is dysregulated.  You are not a failure because your child is dysregulated.  You are get it.

My love to all of you during this season that most of us have a love/hate relationship with.  We can do hard things.


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