Adjusting to life after the holidays

after-partyWelcome back to the Delays and Disabilities series. I hope that you had a wonderful holiday season.

It seems like yesterday I was blogging about how to cope with all the extra excitement and stress that often accompanies the holidays. I hope that some of the tips helped you and your child with special needs to enjoy the season.

Two steps forward, one step back

Depending on how your past few weeks went, you may find that establishing your new “old routine” is especially challenging. You may wonder why things that your little one used to do so well, has now become a struggle, or has even been totally forgotten. Routines and accomplishments once mastered have somehow disappeared. It may seem like you have taken a step backward.

The “two steps forward and one step back” pattern is a common one among children with special needs. Often, it doesn’t take a lot to throw our kids off kilter. But, if you know that this is common, when it happens you won’t feel too thrown off by it. All of the past excitement of the holidays was difficult for your little one – and now, re-adjusting to life is…well…difficult, too. Just try to keep your cool and patiently bring your child along the path again, step by step, until old routines and behaviors are mastered, once again. As usual, praise and positive reinforcement help so much.

If you have any concerns, speak with your child’s health care provider. It is always important to rule out possible reasons for unusual behavior (such as ear infections or other illnesses) before soldiering on.

Also, re-read my blog post on Re-entry – life after vacation. It includes tips on how to master going back to your new “old” routine.

Look for possible positives

My daughter used to have a surge in her speech vocabulary after a trip or holiday. Her speech therapist used to love it when we went away or had a break in routine. Although the change in routine was always hard on my daughter (and me) at the time, the after-effects would result in new connections for my daughter. And, although re-adjusting to her old routine was indeed a challenge again, the benefits from her language boost were well worth it. So, keep an eye out for possible positive gains – they may appear when you least expect them!

Bottom line

Just remember, it’s a new year, with all new hopes for a wonderful future.  Try to take it one moment at a time. Baby steps.

Note:  This post is part of the weekly series Delays and disabilities – how to get help for your child. It was started in January 2013 and appears every Wednesday. Go to News Moms Need and click on “Help for your child” on the menu on the right side to view the archive of past blog posts. As always, we welcome your comments and input.

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