Tis the time to think of the kids

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By Melissa Meehan

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Christmas is fast approaching.

Can you believe it?

It feels like we’ve been living in 2020 for one thousand decades.

So hard to believe it’s nearly over!

And with the latest restriction changes, Victorians are gearing up to go full throttle at Christmas time.

Visitors. You better believe it.

Presents. Oh my god yes.

But I was reading something the other day that reminded us that while we might find ourselves getting wrapped up and hyped up in the Christmas spirit and all it involves.

That it’s actually a time that can have some negative feelings for kids.

It’s the time of overstimulation and socialising – which is tough on kids at any time. Especially nearing the end of a pandemic.

Babies being passed around, forced hugs to relatives and friends they haven’t seen in at least six months – it’s such a weird time for kids.

And it can often mean a change in behaviours.

Sometimes they’ll just need a day at home, some quiet time or even a cuddle.

They don’t care about decorations, lights or what to buy their fourth cousin (removed).

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Perth Children’s Occupational Therapy posted on social media that it’s important to remember kids cannot tolerate the same amount of sensory input that adults can.⠀

“Watch for kids’ cues of needing quiet, calm time, whether they’re at home, at a social gathering, out looking at Christmas lights, or at their grandparents’, they wrote.

“Whining, crying, becoming short-tempered, refusing to do simple tasks, becoming withdrawn and/or telling you that they’ve had enough, are all signs that your child has probably had enough.”

If you see these behaviours, your child is not purposely trying to be difficult, and they need you to take action.⠀⠀

“If you’re out and about and see signs of overstimulation, remove your child from the situation. If that’s not possible, keep them close to you, ask or gauge whether they need hugs or space, keep them hydrated, well-fed, and give them time to rest,” they said.

“If you’re somewhere you can control the environment, you can try moving away from people, keeping lights low, volumes down, and touch input to a minimum.”

It’s all really important stuff that we as parents are probably guilty of forgetting. And it’s such a timely reminder.

So this Christmas, while it’s okay for us to get caught up in all the drama and celebration. Let’s remember to kids – it’s just one day.

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