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Creating unique Christmas traditions for families with kids with SEND

As we approach the Christmas season, there's an undeniable buzz in the air—the twinkling lights, the aroma of freshly baked cookies, and the anticipation of cherished traditions. For families with children who have Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND), the holiday season might bring its unique set of challenges and opportunities. This time of the year calls for creating heart warming traditions tailored to the sensory needs of our incredible squad members—kids who navigate the world with their own unique sensory experiences.

At The Super Sensory Squad, we understand the importance of acknowledging these differences and celebrating them. Our squad of eight lovable penguin characters—Buzz, Aromi, Echo, Roly, Chill, Flex, Yum-Yum, and Spark—is here to guide us through the creation of sensory-friendly Christmas traditions that resonate with the needs of our amazing kids.

1. Sensory-Friendly Decorating: Transforming your home into a festive wonderland can be overwhelming for children with sensory sensitivities. Consider involving them in the decorating process. Use soft, calming lights or opt for visuals like our character-themed decorations to engage them without overwhelming their senses. 2. Customised Advent Calendar: Advent calendars are a lovely part of the Christmas countdown. Create a personalised one by incorporating sensory-friendly items—tactile objects, scented sachets, or even small toys that cater to their sensory preferences. Make it a daily exploration of different sensory experiences! 3. Storytime with our Sensory Squad Penguins: Gather around for a special story time featuring our penguin friends. Each character links to a unique sensory experience that kids can relate to. Spark's excitement, Chill's calmness, or Flex's adaptability—all can help kids comprehend their own sensory processing while enjoying tales of the Squad exploring Sensory Island in our ‘Understanding Sensory Processing Through Stories’ Course. 4. Homemade Sensory Ornaments: Engage your kids in crafting ornaments using various textures, scents, and colours. Incorporate materials like felt, textured papers, or scented elements to create a delightful sensory experience while decorating the tree. 5. Sensory-Friendly Baking: Baking traditional holiday treats can be a delightful sensory experience. Adjust recipes to accommodate sensory needs—using alternative ingredients or focusing on a specific sensory element like aroma or texture. Let your kids explore and enjoy the process! 6. Quiet Retreat Space: Amidst the Christmas hustle and bustle, designate a quiet space where kids can retreat when overwhelmed. Fill it with calming sensory tools like weighted blankets, fidget toys, or noise-cancelling headphones, allowing them to self-regulate when needed. 7. Routine-Friendly Celebrations: While flexibility is essential, maintaining some balance of routine during celebrations can provide stability. Organise events around familiar timings to ease transitions and reduce anxiety for kids who thrive on routine.

Remember, helping build Christmas traditions that create meaningful moments that cater to the unique needs of every family member will help make Christmas more regulated. As part of The Super Sensory Squad, let's celebrate this season by embracing our sensory strengths and weaving sensory-friendly traditions into our festivities.

We'd love to hear about your family's unique Christmas traditions! Share your experiences and ideas with us in the comments below. Together, let's make this holiday season a sensory spectacular for all!

Keep an eye out for our next blog next week on 'how to support your child through the changes of routine the Christmas season brings'.

Love Kate and Nicole from The Super Sensory Squad

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