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Parenting during the holidays

Posted: December 09, 2021

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Shopping for gifts, decorating the house,

baking goodies, attending parties, visiting family…there are so many fun and exciting

things to do. With all these wonderful events, who wouldn't be happy all the time?

Unfortunately, children and especially children with any type of sensory processing

disorder. Therefore, parents should stay on top of the parenting game instead of giving

into a laxer parenting style during the season.


The holidays should be a time of joy but with all the colorful lights, delicious scents,

sweet treats, entertaining sounds, and things to play with, sensory overload is in full

effect. Routines are upended and are replaced by parties, errands, and late nights. The

magical stuff be comes chaos and children are expected to be on their best behavior.

Adults have a hard enough time maintaining their sanity with all of this so why should

children be expected to?


The anticipation of time off from school, presents, cookies, and more gets children

excited. They begin the holiday season with happiness and cheer, but they quickly

become exhausted and cranky from the over-stimulation in the environment. Even the

most laid-back children get overwhelmed. Handling all of this is even more difficult for

younger children and ones that are already challenge by sensory stimuli on a regular

basis. The extra stimuli can cause children to be more reactive in situations and

behavior issues may result.


These behavior issues often arise due to unclear rules, unrealistic expectations, and

schedule changes. Parents often assume that because the holiday season is "magical"

their children will automatic ally behave. Sadly, this is not the case. When children

misbehave during the holidays, many parents resort to shouting, threatening to call

Santa, or taking presents away. And yes, parents may win but everyone ends up feeling



In order to set children up for success during the holiday season, it is wise to keep some

routines in place such as snack times and bedtimes and try to schedule only one

holiday event each day. It is also good to let children help with things, so they feellike

they are a part of it all. It's also essential that parents give their children attention in the

midst of all the hustle and bustle. One of the best ways to make parenting during the

holidays the most successful is by utilizing the eight Parenting SKILLZ that were

developed by SKILL founder, Melody Johnson.

Your team at ATA Maryland.

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