Tips To Prepare Your Child With Autism For The Christmas Holidays

The Christmas holidays are on its way. This could be a bit daunting to your child with autism especially when it is his first Christmas holiday with the whole family.

The best way is to prepare your child ahead of time before the Christmas holidays begin. Every child is different so what works for one might not work for the other. As his parent, you know your child best!

Here are some tips to help your child prepare for the Christmas Holidays: 

  • Explain to him the meaning of Christmas by reading him a story about Christmas. A Christmas Nativity Book is the best book to choose. Always remember that children with autism are mostly visual learners. They learn easily and appreciate what you read to them if they can see what is happening at the same time. This is the first thing that I did for my son. I read him a picture book about Nativity so that he knows that Christmas means the birth of Jesus Christ.
  • Buy an Advent Calendar to prepare your child each day before Christmas. The Advent Calendar is an effective way to prepare your child for receiving gifts. It works by giving small gifts that your child would appreciate. Buy the “chocolate-free” ones if possible. We know that chocolate makes them even more hyperactive. We should limit giving them chocolates as small gifts, instead, buy an Advent Calendar that has small toys that they could help them to concentrate i.e. Legos.
  • Buy a DVD about Christmas to familiarize your child with all that is happening around Christmas time. A DVD that shows Santa Claus, family gatherings, gift giving etc. Choose an animation film as possible.
  • If your child likes arts and crafts, you can create a Christmas card out of a colored carton paper. Below is a photo of a Christmas card that my son drew. He used plain pencil and a colored carton paper.
  • Allow your child to help you in decorating your  Christmas tree at home. He might or might not enjoy doing it because of his sensory issues. He might not like seeing the brightly colored and twinkling Christmas lights. If he resorts to tantrums after seeing this, it is best to take him away from the Christmas tree. He might find it too painful for his eyes to see.
  • You may want to take your child for a Christmas shopping to buy gifts. This will allow him to get familiar with Christmas gifts and its purpose. There is a tendency that he might experience a sensory overload if you will buy gifts in a crowded shopping center. It is best to keep him away from the place if this happens. John does not like going to big shopping centers when he was still little because he found  these too overwhelming. He always resorted to meltdown at that time. But he is able to manage his behavior now and found a way to ease his sensory issues.                                                                                                                                                   
  • Take your child to Winter Wonderland or any amusement park during this Christmas holidays.

    Winter Wonderland

You might have to take this as a trial and error. Some children might enjoy going on a ride but some might not enjoy it at all.  A stroll through the park might be too overwhelming already because of the crowd and the noise around him. If this happens, you need to stop and take him away from the crowd. He should be enjoying himself and not be frightened.

This is also a great opportunity to visit Santa’s grotto.

Santa’s Grotto

My son knows what Santa looks like because of the Christmas books that I read to him when he was still little and the DVD film that tells a story about Father Christmas. He was not afraid to see Father Christmas. In fact, he was so happy to see him and was also thankful for the gift that he received from him.

There you are! These are just some tips to prepare your child with autism for the Christmas holidays.

If you want to know more about how you can help prepare your child during the Christmas holidays you may want to click on this

If you have any questions, suggestions or recommendations, please leave your comments below and I will try to reply to you as soon as I possibly can.

Adel 🙂

6 thoughts on “Tips To Prepare Your Child With Autism For The Christmas Holidays

    1. Hi there! I would recommend keeping him away from the Christmas tree by finding a quiet space for him where he could drain his energy. He might be experiencing a meltdown because sensory overload. He might find the flashing colourful bright lights too overwhelming or painful to see and he might find the decorations overwhelming too. Besides keeping him away from the Christmas tree and finding a quiet space to drain his energy, you might try to calm him down by giving him certain activities that he likes to do. Music might calm him too. I tried this with my son and it might work with your grandson too. If you need further advice on how you could help your grandson please click on this link. Thank you and may I take this opportunity to greet you, A Very Happy Christmas and I wish you all the best in the coming year.

  1. Children with autism are very special and they always need extra love, affection and attention than any other children. The tips to prepare an autism child for Christmas holidays that you came up with are definitely going to be helpful for parents. I have a friend whose child is suffering from cerebral palsy and I always see the amazing support the child gets from the entire family.

    Lots of wishes for your son this Christmas. 🙂

    1. The family is the best support system that a child with autism could ever have. It is the child’s source of strength, love and affection. As a parent of a child with autism, I need to prepare him for the Christmas holidays by letting him do whatever things that he would enjoy doing. Have a Merry Christmas! 🙂

  2. It is a holiday period for Christmas now; I love your post, interesting.

    The right decision is to tell your children and to explain to them the meaning of Christmas. Children with autism need special care because they do things which are different from a child who does not have a learning disability.

    Thank you for the informative article. I didn’t know that such a child may not like the Christmas tree lights.

    How long does it take for the child to get used to the teaching that you are teaching him or her about Christmas?

    Does you child like the idea of Christmas?

    1. Thank you for the questions and finding my article interesting, Mariam. It took a while for my son to get used of what Christmas is all about but with constant repetition through reading Christmas Stories picture books and watching animated Christmas films when he was little, he was able to get himself acquainted with all the things happening during the Christmas holidays. The festive celebrations, the Christmas carols and the Christmas decorations which includes the colorful and blinking Christmas tree lights.

      So, it really depends on us, parents on how often we tell Christmas stories to our child with autism and how we encourage our child to participate in putting Christmas decorations in our homes. Some children with autism take time to learn and understand what Christmas is but if we will filled our homes with love, peace and joy it would be easier for our child to get used of the meaning of Christmas.

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