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Managing expectations around Christmas gifting

You may have the experience on Christmas morning where your child seems quiet or has not said thank you to you or a relative and you may be left feeling hurt or embarrassed for your relative.

However in this moment the child may be so incredibly grateful but stuck for words, or emotionally overwhelmed and feeling unable to think in this moment. Children with sensory needs may feel a little dysRegulated in this moment as they try to cope with the emotions and the sensory experience at that time.

What can we do?

Firstly don’t expect a child to immediately say thank you. Talk to them about the gift. Help understand with them what it is, what it does and why they may like it. This allows them time to process and understand the gift so they may then themselves say thank you or show appreciation.

Allow all children time to ‘take it all in’ and simply watch and observe with them. Thank yous will come when the child has had a moment to process it all.

Children with or without additional needs may need a few sensory breaks between gifts, maybe opening some gifts now and leavings others until later or another day altogether to reduce them getting overwhelmed in the first place.

There are a lot of emotions at Christmas, excitement levels are high, sugar content can be high and children may have slept less than normal so allowing the child space and time can be all that’s needed on the day to enjoy it.

Enjoy it and soak up the moments. They are only small for such a short time

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