Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ten Parenting Tips to Consider. Don’t be Caught on Santa’s Naughty List!

For those who celebrate it, are you ready for Christmas? Are you ready for time off from school? For company? Or are you the ones traveling this year? Is your shopping done, gifts wrapped?

Or is your anxiety increasing as you read the above?

Here’s a quick tip list, in an effort to keep mom and dad off Santa’s Naughty List:
  1. If your child wants to wrap gifts, let her – and don’t criticize how “sloppy” it might look. Remember, many of these kids have gross and/or fine motor skill concerns. And, whatever you do, please, oh please, resist the urge to “rewrap” it. (Unfortunately, I know folks who would do just that…*sigh*)
  2. Does your child want to wrap gifts, but the perfectionist nature of her makes it a stress-ball, ending in meltdowns and tears? Make sure she has the proper tools and an adequate work space. Be prepared with calming activities, and refrain from matching her level of intensity while she’s in the middle of a difficult situation.
  3. Practice gift giving and opening time. Remind your child it is ok to dislike a gift, but it is not ok to act rudely, and a “thank you” is still due. And telling your child (very loudly in a very strong voice) that she is being rude and disrespectful, well…ahem… :)
  4. Be prepared for the Holiday dinner and parties, and consider her sensory world, which includes the menu. For many, an empty stomach is a recipe for a meltdown, any day! Don’t expect her to fail, but don’t expect her to “suck it up and deal with it”, either.
  5. Stick to (at least some of) her wishlist. Aspies like surprises like my husband loves tofu. (Somehow, I still think I’ll convert him. Silly me.)
  6. Going caroling in the cold, snow and freezing temps? Make sure to bundle your child up, especially if her sensitivity to cold (and wearing mittens) is lacking.
  7. Get to know the amygdala. It’s the part of the brain that has the fight or flight response and is what causes our kids to go from sweet little angels to snapping zombie turtles in a millisecond. The amygdala loves this time of year. Yelling feeds it – don’t feed it.
  8. Did your Aspie give you something off her Special Interest list as a gift? You know, that Special Interest that is, shall we say, well loved and all but worn out? Yep, mom, time to practice #3, ourselves, huh?
  9. Don’t make your child hug anyone as a gesture of “thanks”. For some kids, hugging is hell, and not equated with caring.
  10. Take time to sit back and enjoy this time spent with your immediate family. At the end of the day, kids are just that – kids. People who grow up and become adults. And that day is approaching quicker than we’d like to let it.
Ok, your turn. Have any tips you’d like to share?


  1. My stress ball is getting bigger by the day. Not looking forward to more "what's wrong with him" comments (Thanksgiving didn't go well.)

    I really liked your "practice the gift exchange" idea, and here's my tip: bring his favorite items and make a safe spot wherever you are that he can retreat to when the chaos gets overwhelming.

    We're bringing his bear, blanket, and a special toy. I'm considering adding sunglasses and headphones to the list due to new sensitivities.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Bethany. Sorry to hear Thanksgiving did not go well. :(

    Love your tip! Thanks for sharing. Sounds like a good plan! As for sensitivities, K's are definitely improving. (It's a relief for her, too.) :)