Valentine’s Day is usually a time of great fun for kids. They get cards with their favorite characters, tiny gifts, and candy. While Valentine’s Day is an easy win for most children, it can be a harder sell for children with special needs. Some kids with autism can be overwhelmed by all of the social interaction involved in Valentine’s Day, or they may have trouble grasping the concepts behind the holiday. Most kids with autism learn to love the holiday as much as the next child, once they understand it. Here are some tips from chubuddy that parents can use to make Valentine’s Day more fun for kids with autism and other special needs.
Explaining Valentine’s Day to a child with autism is a great place to start when trying to help them enjoy the holiday more. Parents should describe the holiday as a day to show friends and family how much you care by giving them cards, gifts, candy and more. This discussion can be a learning opportunity for kids by using the holiday to help them think about the special people in their life. It’s probably best to skip over the often confusing history of the holiday, which is something that confuses many adults.
One way parents can help their special needs child get ready for the holiday is by doing at-home Valentine’s Day craft projects. This action will help to familiarize them with the holiday’s themes and give them practice at the kind of Valentine’s Day projects they could be assigned in school. The American Autism Association has a page with several autism-friendly Valentine’s Day craft projects.
There are several areas where a child with autism can become overwhelmed by Valentine’s Day celebrations. Classroom parties and activities generate unusually large commotions. Teachers often use the holiday as a teaching tool, which means there is more work for the child to assimilate. Taking the time to explain Valentine’s Day to a special needs child should make it easier for the child to keep up holiday-related lessons since the information won’t be entirely new. Parents should also prepare the child for what they can expect during a classroom Valentine’s Day party. This preparation can lessen the confusion and anxiety a child feels when the chaotic exchange of cards and candy begins.
Depending on how a child deals with social interaction, Valentine’s Day can become a minefield of emotional signals and personal exchanges that can make some special needs children uncomfortable. Even the colloquial language associated with the holiday can be problematic. When taken literally, phrases like “Be my Valentine” or “Be Mine” can sound far more serious than they are ever meant to be on a card or candy heart.
One of the best ways to help kids understand and prepare for this aspect of Valentine’s Day is to let them take an active part in buying the candy and gifts they will share with their classmates. Having them pick the cards they want is an opportunity to explain ordinary Valentine’s Day phrases and what they mean. Letting your child pick out the cards they will give to their friends is also a way to get them excited about the chance to give them out.
A problem that’s universal to children and Valentine’s Day is the potential for overindulging on candy. This problem can be exacerbated with special needs children who are chewers. A desire to chew on things plus piles of candy create a situation that can end in stomach aches and future cavities. Role play with your child about what do with the candy they get on Valentine’s Day. Make sure they know not to eat it all at once. If your special needs child is a chewer, having a chew for them can help keep them from going overboard on candy.
If you’re looking for a high-quality chew that is long-lasting, consider shopping for one at chubuddy. All of our products are non-toxic, BPA-free, phthalates-free, lead-free, latex-free. PVC-free and non toxic. We have a wide range of products to help special needs parents and caregivers. Visit the chubuddy shop today to find the best chew for your child.