Holiday Party-Hopping

by ih-chi admin

Like most people, your social calendar probably ramps up quite a bit in December with a host of holiday parties to attend. School, office and neighborhood gatherings are all great fun for families. If your family includes a child with special needs, there’s no reason to sit out on the sidelines at these events.

You may just need to put a little more thought into how to navigate through the tinsel and twinkling lights. 

Here are five tips to help you plan ahead if attending holiday parties:

1.  Check with the hosts to make sure the whole family is included. Your child might feel more comfortable if they see siblings there with them, as well as at least one parent or possibly a regular caregiver.

2.  Confirm what food will be served beforehand. If your child has food allergies or other sensitivities, plan to bring along your own snacks you know they’ll enjoy.

3.  Stake out a quiet place, or “time-out” zone when you first arrive. If the noise or crowd starts to be too much, ask if there’s a quiet bedroom, hallway or back porch somewhere your child can chill out for a few minutes and regroup before returning to the festivities.

4.  Set expectations before you arrive. Let them know who will be there and what kinds of activities there’ll be, such as cookie-decorating or caroling. Also ask them to tell you when they’ve had enough and would like to leave, or you can come up with a special signal or sign just for this purpose.

5.  Finally, be flexible. If your child seems comfortable and is enjoying themselves, stay a few extra minutes beyond what you originally planned. It’s the holidays after all. Likewise, if they are struggling and distressed, it’s perfectly acceptable to leave at any time. A caring and gracious host will always understand.

(Adapted from  CBS News.com)