5 Tips For Children and Young People and Families for a Happy Sensory Christmas
Lots of us are looking forward to Christmas. However, for some children and young people Christmas can be a source of anxiety and stress. It’s a good idea to plan some enjoyable Sensory Activities; these can be calming for people who have a tendency to be overexcited and energising for those experiencing low mood. Here are some ideas that have come to mind…
- Touch: Together with your children make some Christmas tree decorations using coloured air drying clay, mud roc, or salt dough. Making salt dough, takes longer to make – but it involves stirring, adding water, kneading, shaping – these are all ways to help children feel fully alive in their body. Young people can make more sophisticated characters from their favourite film – e.g. anime characters representing different personality traits
- Sound: Learn a new Christmas song with your child or children to perform over Christmas or for a family zoom call with relatives. If you have some musical instruments include those as well. This a good opportunity for your child to feel heard and valued, and can bring much joy to relatives who may not be able to join you over Christmas due to COVID restrictions. Drumming has a calming and grounding effect on the Central Nervous System, there are some lovely melodic steel tongue drums that are suitable for all ages at: – www.stuccu.co.uk/s/Tongue+Drum+Steel
- Sight: We all need light at this time of year when the days are shorter. Why not involve your child in making some Christmas decorations with tissue paper and card. Cut a shape from sheet of card and back it with tissue paper. These decorations come alive when a light is placed behind them or you can blue tac them to the window of your front room for passer’s by to enjoy. LED Sensory lights that gradually change colour help to calm the mind and can stimulate warm and imaginative thoughts as the darkness draws in. See this inexpensive egg light: – Tobar 10112 LUMO Light UP Egg, Mixed (amazon.co.uk)
- Smell: Experiment with different Christmas smells and scents. Perhaps you could give your child a hand or foot massage with scented lotions. You could even make your own by adding orange, lemon zest or mint to unscented lotions. There are some helpful guides on You Tube for home reflexology for children, – www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9oDZv8Kh_U Slices of dried oranges and lemons mixed with cloves and cinnamon can be threaded to hang on your Christmas tree. This would make a lovely aromatic gift for elderly neighbour who may not be able to go to the shops buy their own new decorations.
- Taste: Christmas holidays provide an opportunity for home baking. Personally, I can’t resist the ‘Chocolate Mint Penguin Stained Glass Cookies,’ recipe available at www.mumsmakelists.com I can almost taste them now. And please remember it’s about the process of making them, not the finished article. In my experience sometimes the most misshapen cakes and biscuits taste the best 😊. You could even have a prize for the Penguin with the most unusual character!