Surviving & Thriving at the Holidays with a Gifted/2E Kid

GHF November 2013 Blog Hop 1


The holiday season can be a stressful time for anyone. When you are parenting gifted and 2e kids through all of the sensory stimulation, changing routines, and lots of people who may not understand your child and their needs, it can be an even bigger challenge. Here are posts by some of our favorite bloggers about their tips and tricks for surviving and thriving through this period!





Christmas for the girl who has it all ~ Gift of Home: Adventures in Homeschooling (Cheri Gould)

In some ways, our holiday issues have resolved themselves since we have moved far away from our family, and now have control over our days.  The holidays used to be a time of stress, divorced parents, in-laws, conflict, expectations, yuck.  Now, we are too far away to visit, and we do things our way.  The only difficulty left is gift-giving, and that is hardly something to whine about. In any case, this is our little family's perspective on holiday peace.

surCycling through the Holidays: the IPSE Four-Step Process for Managing Hard Stuff ~ Gifted Matters (Mika Gustavson)

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…..”, or not, depending on how you observe holidays and how well that works for your QuASIE kid. Gee, why wouldn’t disrupted routines, strange beds, odd foods, unfamiliar people, neurotypical expectations from extended family and surprises (even good ones) be a smashing success?

GHF holidaysDear Parents: Here's How to Survive & Thrive at the Holidays  ~ (Pamela Price)

If there is any time of year capable of leaving parents reeling and gasping for air, it’s the holidays. Between work, school (or homeschool, if like me, that’s your thing), kiddie activities, tree-trimming, shopping, cooking, eating, and generally just working one’s self to the bone, it’s the stretch from Halloween to New Year’s Eve. Before things get crazy crazier, I’d like to offer some simple suggestions to keep your wits about you and maybe carve out a little “peace and joy” in all the “falalalala-ing.”

happy crappy holidays GHFHappy Crappy Holidays ~ CruSHing TaLL PoPPies (Celi Trepanier)

Gifted teen emotional intensities his older brothers not coming home for the holidays = Crappy Holidays to us! So, what can we do to prevent our gifted child’s emotional intensities from overflowing and igniting our holidays and home into a house full of holiday havoc and heartache?

surviving gifted holiday GHFHoliday Survival Guide for Parents of Gifted Children ~ Modern Homeschooling (Jen McGarry)

Sometimes the holidays don’t feel like ‘holidays’ at all. For gifted kids they can be tougher than normal days. Gifted children can have a hard time with everything from clothes to noise to lights to crowds to foods to expectations and just being ridiculously excited. When holiday time happens it usually means spending a lot more time with other people, whether they are coming to your house or you are going to theirs…whether they are coming for dinner or staying for a week. It can also mean parties and crowds and loud music, which for a gifted child can sound like no fun at all. And if your gifted child is an introvert or is anywhere on the sensory processing spectrum it can be downright nightmarish. We’ve been through it a total of nine times and counting, and every year we get better at it. So here are a few of my best tips and tricks for surviving this holiday season.

surviving holidays GHFHoliday Tips for High Maintenance Introverts ~ A Voracious Mind (Amy Harrington)

My boys are different. They are all wild cards that do not appreciate what the holidays mean to most people. They may be polite, thoughtful and engaged or they may act like crazy little kooks with no way to anticipate which version of their personality will be displayed. We sometimes forewarn the kids about grandparental expectations and try to guide them as to how to get through the holidays with relative ease. What we are unable to do is make our kids perform in an artificial manner just to appear obedient. They are individuals who sometimes make us look like our parenting choices are too lax. I do not love it when they represent themselves as wild children; however, we have cultivated a family dynamic that allows for freedom of expression even when that expression is both annoying and embarrassing which it sometimes is.

Holidays, 2e, and the Man in the Red Suit ~ (A 2E Fox Revived) Carolyn Fox

So how do you cope with the hoopla and excitement with the holidays with a 2e child?  I try to avoid Santa Claus encounters like the plague.  In our family, we keep the holidays under wrap, as simple, and minimalist as possible.  We don't have ornaments or tree up until the last minute.  That's 12 days or so before the holidays in our home.  Even then, we have a cheap, plastic tabletop Christmas tree which my husband and I bought at Walgreen's for $2.50 years ago.  That's enough, we say.  We don't do big holiday dinners or big family events.  We're not really able to do big family things anyway since neither side lives near us; my husband's family is in the UK.  So we Skype.

Keeping my Sanity Through the Holidays with a 2E Child ~ Homeschooling Hatters (Care Martin)

So what do you do? What can you do, if the very nature of the season throws your kiddo into a tailspin – and not just any tailspin, but the kind that doubles up each day things are crazy?  In our house?  I try to reduce the changes.

holiday stress GHFNaked Holidays: Stripping for Low Stress ~ Wenda Sheard, J.D. Ph.D. Thoughts on Life and Learning

No, I am not advocating nudity. If you are reading this blog article as a parent, you are likely past your skinny dipping days. Whether due to stretch marks or prudish children, you no longer want to walk around naked. Instead, I am advocating that people strip their holidays down to their naked underpinnings. Find the original message of the holiday, and run with that.

pinterest holidays GHFPinterest and the Myth of Holiday Perfection ~ Laughing at Chaos (Jen Merrill)

Go forth and survive enjoy your holidays with your quirky, twice-exceptional kids. Have the holiday celebrations that work for your family, not the glossy ones that are supposedly the “norm.” Play on Pinterest because it is mindless and fun, not to stress yourself out because your reality doesn’t match the online fantasy.

holiday stress GHF SpriteSurviving the Holiday Season ~ Sprite's Site (Jo Freitag)

Sprite LOVES Christmas! But it does take quite a lot of effort to ensure that the whole season does not become completely overwhelming. It is always a very busy time. There are Christmas cards to send, presents to make for family and friends, decorations to hang, food to prepare and practices and performances for concerts and plays..

holidays stress asynchronicities GHFYou Make It Look So Easy ~ Asynchronicities-schmicities (Beth Welsh)

Holidays mean having a plan and two or three back up plans. When we leave our house, the magic backpack goes too. It has healthy snacks that get digested so quickly no meal gets spoiled. It has rewards. It has extra clothes or sometimes pajamas. It has crayons, color books and reading books. It has the therapy brush in case things really get out of hand, and it has things that make the kids smile automatically. If the holiday is at my home, the day is extremely regimented. If the holiday celebration is at another family member’s home, I have the bag and the knowledge that I’m entering that house knowing it is possible that I will have to leave and apologize later.

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