At this time of year the decorations can be either a blessing or a curse depending on the needs and environmental sensitivities of your child.
One of the easiest ways to overcome the problems that can be caused by massive change in their living environment is to involve the child in the decorating of the room. Explain what you are doing and why and encourage your child to help. If you have a real tree then remember that the scent of the room will also change and this can be an added distraction or cause for confusion. Allow plenty of time for your child to decorate the tree their way, they may be very particular about the order of the baubles or tinsel or the lights, or they may prefer to have all of the decorations in one space rather than all over, either way is fine. By allowing the child to decorate the tree they will be more accepting of it. The same applies to all of the decorations you may have in your home, both inside and out. In most cases it is not a good idea to decorate your child’s bedroom, especially if they are not a good sleeper as they may find the changes too much and may need a space to chill out during the hectic season.
The blessing of decorations comes into play if your child needs overstimulation to settle. If they enjoy sensory rooms then having twinkling lights, colours and interesting smells then the introduction of all of these into the living room can have a very calming affect. Although the problems may occur when the decorations are taken down!
If you child is anxious about change and find the concept of presents daunting and upsetting. There are two options. Option one, buy the presents and wrap them together. This will reduce the anxiety as your child knows what to expect and they will also know that there are no surprises lurking under the tree. Option two is to not put any presents under the tree. If there are no expectations then there should be no anxiety.
What ever you choose to do, think about your child’s needs are they hyper or hypo sensitive to changes, smells, lights, colours and sounds. I would recommend decorating your home during this time, but do it in line with your child’s needs even if that means one very small tree in a very inconspicuous space or lots of lights, smells, and the biggest tree you can find. Every child is different and every child should be able to enjoy this season as they want/need to.
Merry Christmas everyone