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Festive tips for parents of SEN kids

The festive season can be bewildering for many children with autism. The house is full of noise and people, the normal routines have been abandoned, and outings mean coping with crowds, lights, and unfamiliar sights and smells.

If your child has autism, the temptation may be to veto Christmas altogether, but when there are other children to think about, it’s not always that simple. Many parents talk about the pressures of juggling everyone’s needs, and trying to keep the whole family happy. Parents of children with special educational needs have been sharing their tips for surviving the festive season on Scope’s online community.

View the full list of festive tips from parents

Here's a small selection from the advice:

  • Create a plan
    Print off a week-to-view calendar page and add a picture of your planned activities during the Christmas holidays (divide into morning, lunch, afternoon, etc.) to help put your child at ease about the plans for the week.
  • Use the festive season as a teaching opportunity
    Help and encourage your child to give gifts. This provides an excellent opportunity to work on social skills, like thinking of other people's needs and interests, and being kind and helpful.
  • Create a Christmas-free zone
    Leave one room in the house, perhaps your child's room, free from anything to do with Christmas, so they can come back to the room as a 'safe place' when necessary.
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