Sensational: Coping With The Holidays

Pediatric Health The Newsletter About Taking Care Of The Ones That Matter Most

December 2018

“Confessions of A Parent Preparing For The Holidays!” YOUR KIDS: COPING WITH THE HOLIDAYS

The holidays can be a stressful time of year for just about everyone. Despite the old saying that this is the “most wonderful time of the year,” parents tend to spend the months of November and December with their stress level fairly heightened as a result of the extra pressure to meet with friends and family, to spend money on get-togethers and gifts, and all the while making sure that every holiday is a pleasant and memorable experience for all involved. While parents may feel the brunt of the stress load associated with the holidays, children are certainly anything but immune to it. Kids are perceptive to changes in their parents moods, and the added stress on the parents can add up to added stress for the whole family. What’s more, the pressure that parents feel to make the holidays memorable and fun often means disruption to the regular routine, and this is something that a lot of kids can struggle with—and this difficulty is only amplified for kids who have special needs. (continued inside)

Pediatric Health The Newsletter About Taking Care Of The Ones That Matter Most

December 2018

“What Parents Ought To KnowAbout Their Kids During The Holidays!” YOUR KIDS: COPING WITH THE HOLIDAYS

Inside: • 5 Benefits Of Chores For Your Special Needs Child

• Nutrition Corner

• Patient Spotlight

Helping Kids Cope with the Holiday Spirit The holidays really can be the most wonderful time of the year, but in order for the holiday spirit to have a positive effect on your family, you are going to have to make a concerted effort to not let stressors interfere with your fun. When children are stressed out or feel uncertain in their surroundings they are more likely to become disruptive—which could add up to extra stress when all that planning doesn’t end up going Mom and Dad’s way. Being proactive about how you will handle the extra pressure of the holidays is especially important when you are caring for a child with special needs. There are several ways that you can help prepare your child for what is to come. For example, keeping the routine as close to normal as possible, especially in the evening, can prove very beneficial.There are plenty of family traditions that make the holidays special, and you may look forward to those activities all year round. Keeping the routine as close to normal as possible when you plan for those activities may help ensure that everyone has a good time. Schedule dinner parties as close to your standard dinner time as possible,

for example. When an evening routine is close to normal, it is a lot easier for your child to stay calm and still get a restful night of sleep, which is important for their personal well-being. Help your child be ready for what is to come by having discussions about what is ahead. Let them know early in the day that you will be doing something special, and help them understand what they can expect. Surprises are great, but sometimes kids with special needs don’t appreciate them as much as others do. Helping your child understand what is to come will help you and your child have a more enjoyable experience when the time comes. Keep in mind that the holidays are already full of change. School is out, and even the type of music on the radio begins to change as everyone starts thinking about this time of the year. This can be a lot of change for a child, so the more you can keep routine and the better you can build their expectations for what is to come the more enjoyable they will find the holiday season.

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5 BENEFITS OF CHORES FOR YOUR SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD

When the dishes have piled up, the windows feature fingertip art, the floors have several days’ worth of grime, and you haven’t found time to fill the dog bowl, who can you call on to help? Your children! From sorting silverware to taking out the trash, children with special needs thrive in environments where they are given opportunities to succeed. Here are five other ways that your child with special needs benefits from chores: 1. Having a Purpose Work iscriticaltoaperson’ssenseofselfandpurpose. Itoffersgratification, self-confidence, dignity, and the knowledge of having done something important-- all qualities we want for our children. If we elect to not provide chores to a child simply because she is “special,” we inadvertently send the message that she is incompetent or helpless. This message will be delivered through plenty of other outlets, unfortunately, and can be detrimental to a person’s self-esteem as they transition into adulthood. 2. Important Life Skills Whether we like it or not, the overwhelming majority of us have to do chores on a regular basis. We sweep floors, scrub counters, sort laundry, and clean mirrors in order to promote health and safety. Like the rest of us, children with special needs often have to learn these skills to survive in the world. Barring a significant physical or cognitive challenge that prevents your child from doing so, it’s important for kids to gain some appreciation for these tasks. Helpful hint: Break chores into small chunks. For instance, feeding the dog can be: Fill the cup to the line. Pour into the bowl. Call the dog. 3. Movement and Hands-On Experience Performing chores involves children in activities that promote movement- cued development, a necessary step toward reading and writing. Activities, including vacuuming the carpets and throwing clothes into the washing machine, build gross motor skills. Pouring juice and using a screwdriver, for instance, build fine motor skills. Childhood is a time for transformative

neuroplasticity, wherein learning actually shapes the brain’s functional anatomy. Performing chores, such as matching socks and setting the table, enables a better understanding of mathematical concepts as well. 4. Accountability Children better understand the consequences of their actions when having designated responsibilities. If your child realizes the result of making a mess means more work later, she may reconsider her actions. 5. Alleviate Some Stress for You Initially, teaching your child how to complete chores can feel like more work than it’s worth. In many cases, however, kids will gain the skills and knowledge to effectively manage chores themselves so that you have one less responsibility on your plate. While having a child with special needs presents challenges, completing chores is feasible for most people. If your child struggles with fine or gross motor skills, pediatric therapy can be very helpful. Pediatric physical therapy builds on your child’s strengths while helping develop life-skills, such as those needed to complete chores.

CALL US TODAY TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT! FREDERICKSBURG : (540) 841-4443 or WOODBRIDGE : (540) 841-4443

Patient Spotlight

“Have seen huge improvements in my child!” “We love coming to physical therapy and have seen huge improvements in my child.The staff is just wonderful and we always feel welcomed in the clinic.The therapists are great at getting my little one to do the exercises. When we came my little one couldn’t even crawl, now they are crawling and almost walking.The things we learn here we will use for years to come.” - Mrs. Rodgers

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TRAIL MIX HEALTHY RECIPE INGREDIENTS • 1 cup raw almonds • 3/4 cup raw cashews DIRECTIONS Chop any large ingredients if necessary to make everything about the same size. Give the dried fruit a light sprinkle of sea salt before you mix it in (it sticks better), or sprinkle the whole mix with salt if you prefer. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and enjoy! Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. • 2/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds • 1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds • 2 tbsp unsweetened dried cranberries, chopped • 2 tbsp vegan dark chocolate chips • sea salt for taste

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