Preparing Your Excitable Child for the Holidays

Kids who have processing problems can become stressed when they know a holiday is approaching, but don’t yet have an understanding of the passing of time. You can recognize these kids because they are always talking about the holiday, then asking how many more days it is away.

You can make your life easier and theirs less stressful by making a countdown calendar. Figure out how many more days it is until the day, then make a grid and fill in numbers, starting with the total number of days, then going backwards until you get to one. The last block can be one, or it can be a special symbol or sticker to acknowledge it is the big day at last.

Each day, have the child mark off one square of the grid. This helps them visually see how much longer they have to wait, gives them the number of days so they don’t have to ask constantly, and assures them that whatever day it is, time is passing and the day will eventually arrive. On the practical side, it helps them with patience, organizational skills, and the sense that the days are ordered according to a plan. One of my kids loves to make his own and then carefully counts down the days. That has taught him initiative and responsibility. Make the most of your child’s anticipation and teach him or her some basic organizational skills.

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