It is almost inevitable, the Christmas Day meltdown.
However there are some tips to help you through.
In my experience the most important thing:
Have a quiet place available for when everything gets too much. If you are at home this is easy, make bedrooms the chill out zone.
Out to lunch at a restaurant, if the weather is not too extreme the car can be a handy quiet spot, away from crowds, insulated. Otherwise a walk outside can do the trick. Headphones and electronic toy can help if you are unable to leave the room/table. Fidget toys are essential for calming overloaded auties.
Visiting family? Ask if they can set aside a room or a space for use as a chill out zone. If they are not receptive then use the restaurant tips.
We avoid new foods, there is enough new and different to deal with. If familiar foods, cutlery and crockery bring comfort then let it be so. Christmas after all is supposedly about spending time with those we love, not about trying new foods.
Things we pack to help with overload, and hopefully avoid that meltdown - I’ve done a more detailed post here.
- Snuggle toy
- Beads and bracelets, the favouriot fidget toy in our house.
- A electronic toy, iPad for us
- Blankie, because even on 40C day there are times when you just have to have your blankie
- Water bottle
- Favourite snacks
Set a time limit – this is oh so important for my Aspie family, we need to know that there is a set time for leaving, this gathering of extended family has a limited duration and they wont be there forever. We’ve managed to calm Annie on several occasions by pointing out the clock to her and she is reassured that after x amount of time we will go home and she can be blessedly alone.
I prefer to ask before hand that gifts be unboxed. My children do not cope well with all the little wires and bands that are used to trap toys these days.
If that is not possible have a little toolbox handy like this one.
If my girls don’t want to open all their gifts them I let them wait, the gifts are not going anywhere, although I do still get them to say thanks and once the gift is open we try to take a photo and send a thank you email.
What are your tips to avoiding or minimising the Christmas Day meltdown?
I’m linking up with Tina’s Christmas Linky.