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Supporting your child through the Christmas break

It’s the time of year to wrap up warm and start counting down to Christmas! Though the holiday season is a wonderful time to relax and spend time with loved ones, we understand for children with autism (ASD) or other related conditions, this break in routine and progress can be stressful for families!  

For some children who receive intensive therapies, a short break may mean loss of new skills and a decrease in known skills. However, do not stress about being your child’s ‘therapist’ during the break. We have a list of helpful tips to keep time away from therapy more stress-free, and the holidays fun.  

1.Managing time and daily routines 

During our day-to-day at First Bridge, our children have a structured routine that allows for predictability and for needs/ programme goals to be met. Most routines include toilet training, feeding programmes and play times. During holidays it is important to identify which routines are important to keep consistent with at home (night-time/morning routines, access to specific foods, toileting etc.).  

2. Create a daily schedule  

On your Christmas countdown, it may be useful to create a daily schedule for you and your child. By having a visual, set plan for free play times, lunch/dinner, activities, it will allow for clear expectations to be set and that needed predictability. 

3. Explore activities.  

All our children, though need routine, love exploring new activities! Whether it’s a sensory activity, Christmas colouring or exploring a new book. Take the holidays as a time to discover new activities with your child and expose them to fun learning opportunities! All types of learning are important. 

Remember to take this time to also recharge your batteries and enjoy time with your child. Always end play session on a positive note (if possible) and focus on things your child enjoys. From us all at First Bridge, we wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas!  

-Jocanne Nichols, ABA Therapist & Room Lead, First Bridge Centre