Getting back in the swing

unhappy childThe Thanksgiving holiday is behind us. Be honest now…how many of you are still having a bit of trouble trying to get back to your old routine? I know I loved having a few unstructured days of sleeping late, eating rich foods (mashed potatoes, gravy, yams and stuffing to name a few), and of course eating desserts. At my house we had apple pie with vanilla ice cream, and a double chocolate layer cake for anyone who was not an apple pie fan. OR, for most of us…we ate both (and loved every morsel)!

Now is the time when settling back to your old routine seems incredibly hard. Have you had trouble falling asleep, or worse- getting up, this week? Are you craving sweets during the day? Do you just seem to be feeling out of sync? Sluggish? (I think I have described myself pretty well, I’m afraid to say. How about you?)

Returning to your prior routine after a holiday is hard for most people. But it is especially hard for a child with special needs. Straying too far off from the usual foods, bedtimes, and daily routine can wreak havoc on your child’s system causing him to feel lost or a bit out of control. Due to his special needs, it may take longer to get back on track again, too. So, if YOU are feeling a bit out of sync this week, your little one is feeling worse, and will probably take longer to return to his prior usual routine.

Have patience and look for the bright side

I call getting back to your prior routine “re-entry” because it can really feel like a jolt to your system. In one of my prior posts, I wrote about the post-holidays adjustment period, and how the change in routine can cause a temporary step backward for your child. You need to be aware that this can happen, and gently try to get your child back on track.

For other children, the holidays can bring about a surge in new connections, making your little one gain language skills or venture to do new things. So, be on the lookout for new behaviors or positive gains.

Remember, if you are having trouble getting back to your prior “normal,” your child is probably experiencing the same feelings. Lots of praise and positive reinforcement for little steps, along with a boat-load of patience will soon get you all rolling again.

Check out these blog posts to find other coping strategies, such as creating your child’s personal “memory” or “transition” booklets, or re-adjusting to life after a vacation. If you have a technique of your own that works for your child, please share it!

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. While on News Moms Need, select “Help for your child” on the menu on the right side to view all of the blog posts to date. You can also view a Table of Contents of prior posts.

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