Holiday traveling with school-aged children can be stressful for any family. Add extra needs like sensory sensitivities often associated with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), and holiday traveling gets even more challenging. Attempting to coordinate your child’s sensory and energy needs while traveling can make holiday traveling feel like a daunting job. At New Horizons Wellness Services, we want all children, particularly those with sensory issues, to enjoy stress-free holiday travel. Consider the following travel tips to help make your holiday traveling less stressful:
Choose Travel Times Wisely: It is important to take your child’s specific struggles into account and schedule your travels accordingly. For children with ADHD, it is important to schedule travel around energy times. For instance, plan travel for later in the morning after your child has had a healthy dose of exercise or plan your travel during your child’s typical downtime. For children with ASD and sensory processing disorder, it is important to schedule travel time when freeways or airports are not congested. Since these children are often overstimulated by too many people or too much noise, avoiding these situation can reduce the possibility of meltdowns. If your child craves structure and routine, break down the trip into increments your child can understand. Using a visual schedule can be an effective way of providing your child with a step by step outline of your holiday travel.
Dress For Success: It is important to stay ahead of potential sensory meltdowns and discomfort by dressing your child in comfortable clothes when you travel. Be sure to bring along ear plugs if your child has hypersensitivities to his or her surroundings. Having your child wear an ID bracelet or other identification that includes your cellphone number can be very helpful if he or she tends to wander or has limited communication skills.
Bring Activities And Snacks: Planning ahead will help to prevent the meltdowns that come with boredom and hunger. Bring a backpack containing small travel games, books, and art supplies. It may be tempting to bring electronic devices; however, they can also lead to meltdowns if they fail to work properly or if the battery runs low. It is important to avoid being high sugar foods and drinks that can result in a sugar high and inevitable crash. Instead, bring healthy protein-packed snacks and water to ensure that your child stays full and satisfied.
Call Ahead: Whether you’re staying at a hotel or with family, it is important to call ahead to discuss sleeping arrangements and any other concerns you may have. It is important to take your child’s specific needs and sensitivities into consideration with selecting a place to stay. For parents with children with noise sensitivities, when selecting a hotel, you may want to inquire about any renovations at the facility that could bother your child. If your child uses a weighted blanket at home, consider calling the hotel to find out if they have a heavy blanket your child can use.
We hope these tips help make your family’s holiday travel a success! If you have found this blog to be helpful, please “like” our Facebook page and follow our blog.
Yours in Health,New Horizons Wellness Services
13333 SW 68th Pkwy,
Tigard, OR 97223
New Horizons Wellness Services provides a true multidisciplinary approach to mental & physical health treatments for children, adults and families.