1) Have a social story™ explaining that it will all go back to the usual routine after the Christmas holiday.
2) Have a visual calendar counting down the days to the end of term and showing changes to the usual routine.
3) Have an area in the class that remains normal so a child can escape Christmas. Show them and tell them to go there when Christmas gets too much.
4) Keep as much routine in place as possible. Let them know they can tell a trusted ( named) adult if they feel worried or overloaded.
5) Avoid leaving tempting treats on display and mystery gifts wrapped up until the end of term. Waiting is hard.
6) Unfamiliar noises, textures, smells, taste, touch and lighting may be disturbing. The usual things can become upsetting too if their stress levels are high (very likely).
7) If they don’t want to see Santa let them opt out – it’s meant to be fun. Make reasonable allowances, see things from their point of view, reduce demands. Pick your battles.
8) Be aware of sensory issues when deciding on parts that need costumes. Dressing in different clothes can cause real discomfort and anxiety.
9) Communicate with home and be aware of triggers. Let parents know they can contact you if something is causing anxiety.
10) Show you understand that it is hard – give praise, stickers or additional reward time, whatever reassures. Be proud of them.
Inspiration: Adele Devine