Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, and food. But for families with special needs, it can also be a time for stress and anxiety. Here are some tips to help you have a successful Thanksgiving with a child with special needs:
Plan ahead. The key to a successful Thanksgiving is to plan ahead. This means talking to your child about the holiday, making sure they know what to expect, and preparing for any potential challenges.
Make the day less stressful. Thanksgiving can be a very busy day. To make the day less stressful, try to delegate tasks and ask for help from others. You can also try to simplify your Thanksgiving meal or plan a potluck with friends and family.
Accommodate your child’s needs. Be sure to accommodate your child’s needs throughout the day. This may include providing them with a quiet space to retreat to if they feel overwhelmed, offering them food that is safe for them to eat, and making sure they are comfortable in their surroundings.
Make sure everyone has a good time. The most important thing is to make sure everyone has a good time. This means spending time with loved ones, enjoying the food, and creating memories that will last a lifetime.
Here are some additional tips for families with special needs:
Talk to your child about the holiday. Explain to your child what Thanksgiving is and what to expect on the day of the holiday. This will help them to feel more comfortable and prepared.
Create a social story. A social story is a visual aid that can help children with autism or other social communication challenges to understand what to expect in social situations. Create a social story about Thanksgiving to help your child understand the holiday and what to expect.
Pack a sensory bag. A sensory bag is a bag filled with different objects that can help children with sensory issues to self-regulate. Pack a sensory bag with your child’s favorite fidget toys or other calming objects.
Take breaks. If your child starts to feel overwhelmed, take a break from the festivities. Go for a walk, read a book, or do something else that your child enjoys.
Be flexible. Things don’t always go according to plan, especially on Thanksgiving. Be flexible and don’t be afraid to adjust your plans as needed.
Resources for families with special needs in the USA:
- Department of Education’s website for parents of children with disabilities
- Parent Training and Information Centers (PTIs)
- Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)
- Autism Society of America
- National Down Syndrome Society
- National Center for Learning Disabilities
- PACER Center
- National Association of Parents with Children in Special Education (NAPCSE)
- National Disability Rights Network
- Children’s Hospital Association
- The Arc of the United States
These organizations and websites offer a variety of resources, including information on Thanksgiving tips for families with special needs.
We hope this helps! Have a safe and happy Halloween! For more information on supporting children with special needs and accessing educational resources, visit SpecialNeedsMomSquad.com.