We are continuing 12 Days of Holiday Free Family Fun with our friends at ZiggityZoom. Our tenth guest blogger is Jenn Jacura who shares her over-opinionated view and tidbits about living with a special needs daughter at Princess Prose. She leads a pampered, over-indulged life with her geek husband and is fairly certain that the world revolves around her. You can also find her on Twitter at @PrincessJenn and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/
When asked how she keeps her special needs child busy during the holidays, Jenn said:
Over the years we’ve created our own Christmas traditions to suit raising a special needs child. This means understanding that many things that are holiday related can simply be too overwhelming for our daughter (taking her to a mall during the month of December? Ha! Not a chance). It also means learning to go with the flow, and leave behind some of the ‘holiday rules’.
We’ve incorporated an advent calendar to help manage the expectations around Christmas. And part of the advent calendar is breaking that major Christmas rule “Don’t open presents before Christmas day!”. I can hear you all gasping in shock. Yes, it’s true. We allow our daughter to open her presents early and throughout the month of December. Once or twice a week, her calendar will hold a special card that allows her to open one gift that day.
I think it’s a great practice, that doesn’t have to be reserved for special needs kids, though. Allowing a child to open one present a week allows them to spend days enjoying it and playing with it before they move on to the next one. And then on Christmas morning our daughter still gets to enjoy opening her stocking and presents from Santa.
I encourage all parents to take a look at what part of their Christmas routine is stressing them (or their kids) out, and CHANGE it! I promise that Santa won’t leave you a lump of coal in your stocking if you do.