Even though most children enjoy Halloween, the holiday can be a struggle for many kids. Children with physical and mental disabilities are often more affected by the holiday than other children. Kids with physical disabilities are usually slowed down by impairments and can’t keep up with the other children. Kids with mental disabilities may not understand the holiday and what is happening. But there are many different ways you can help a child with a disability have a fun and safe Halloween.
Sometimes you have to think outside of the box. An excellent resource for parents during the holidays is in-home care. Not only can in-home services help relieve you of added stress during the holidays, but they can also offer some helpful tips and suggestions that have come from experience. Here are ten ways you can help your disabled child enjoy the season and have a Happy Halloween!
- Avoid Crowds But Still Have A Good Time – Crowds aren’t everybody’s favorite or ideal situation. For kids with special needs, crowds are loud and overwhelming. Noisy, unfamiliar events can cause melt-downs and other major behavioral problems that can be difficult for families to handle. Here are some alternative ideas:
- Instead of participating in Trunk-Or-Treats or other heavy traffic trick-or-treating areas, go trick-or-treating at less busy areas of your town or start a little bit earlier than the rest of the kids.
- Search for Sensory Friendly events. If your location doesn’t have them, think about starting your own and invite other special needs kids along.
- Avoid the crowds and instead stay home and watch fun Halloween movies and make Halloween themed desserts.
- Help your child get into the spirit of Halloween by passing out the candy to kids from home; this will help your child get some social time in without overwhelming them.
- Try Not To Fit All Events Into A Short Amount Of Time – Too many events, or events that are long, can affect can be incredibly overwhelming for special needs children. Think about ways you can enjoy the holiday without over stimulating them.
- Avoid haunted houses and instead visit corn mazes or hayrides. For kids that are overstimulated easy, taking them to visit a Halloween store might be a better option. Go at a less busy time of day to avoid crowds.
- Don’t make plans to attend any Halloween parties. If your child seems excited and ready to interact, take them to the party early and give yourself time to leave early in case the party becomes too much for your child to stand.
- Be Patient With Your Child And Yourself – Sometimes special needs children won’t enjoy dressing up and participating in the event. Be patient with them and come up with alternative costume options or start new traditions that are more comfortable for your child.
- As much as you want them to participate, remember that Halloween may not be the most fun event for them. Keep your child comfortable by allowing them to have a voice and tell you what they like or don’t like.
- Try to find good ways to connect with your child. If something about the event might spark some interest for a short amount of time, it might be easier for you to enjoy the event with them.
- It doesn’t all have to go the way you think it does. Having a special needs child doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the holiday, you just have to come up with different ways to enjoy it with your child in a way that is comfortable to them.
Don’t forget that there is additional support for you. There are resources for special needs children and in-home help that can help you establish a new tradition, incorporate new ideas, and understand how your child is thinking. Remember to take time for yourself and don’t push yourself to host the party, take care of the kids, manage a holiday event and end up not enjoying your holiday because you are overwhelmed. Remember to have a fun and safe Halloween for both you and your child. Create memories that will last for both of you.