Tips For Celebrating Easter With a Special Needs Child
Easter is another holiday I get tons of questions about. So much happens on Easter. Of course, it’s always on a Sunday, which for many families includes church, maybe a brunch, family events, and maybe an Easter egg hunt. That’s a full day with a variety of activities!
If Your Child is Easily Overwhelmed
If your kids tend to get overwhelmed easily and have meltdowns you have to really plan out how you’re going to approach those activities. I recommend that you look at everything you have planned for that day and prioritize them. Let’s say you have four events planned. Figure out which of the four is most important for you to attend. For those of you who have a church or faith component, think about whether you want to attend the service live or online. There are many ways to attend church. If you have three other events you want to go to, it might be easier to do that one online. Some churches have Saturday night services. A Saturday night service might be a better option because it takes one activity out of the busy Sunday. However, Saturday night church might be a change in routine, so you have to decide how that will work for you. But remember, if you plan ahead of time and let your kiddo know about the change in plans and prepare them for it, they usually do pretty well. You know what we say—prior planning prevents poor performance!
Next, you want to consider whether you’re having brunch with family, or going out to eat at a restaurant. Consider how well your kiddos do at a restaurant. Are there food issues? Do you maybe need to show up halfway through the meal, or only stay for half of it? Do you need to bring food in for them? How busy will the restaurant be? I can tell you that Sunday brunch on Easter tends to be crazy! (So if y’all have figured out a place that’s quiet, please let us know so that we can recommend it!)
There might be family at brunch, but maybe you’ll also be seeing family later at home. Maybe going out to eat is your #4 priority, in which case you can decide to pass on that and just eat at home.
To Hunt or Not to Hunt
Like Halloween, the Easter Egg hunt is really a lot more fun for you to watch than for the kids to do! There are many special needs Easter Egg hunts that happen before Easter. Especially Needed does one, and it will be held at the McKinney Airport the Saturday before Easter. Those are set up so that you can come and go, and they’re pretty sensory-friendly. Also, Easter egg hunts in the back yard are great! So is hiding them around the house. If that’s what works for you, do that!
Public Easter egg hunts are also not ideal for kids with dietary issues. Especially Needed’s Easter egg hunt is gluten-free, but if you have other issues, take that into account. Some families have different traditions, such as putting money or toys instead of candy into eggs. Those might be better options for you!
In general, you want to consider what are your sensory challenges, or your behavioral, or structural, or scheduling challenges for that day.
One last tip: Those Easter outfits are so adorable! I love all the yellow and the bright blue, and pink and green! But make sure you select an outfit that is sensory-friendly. If it’s not sensory-friendly it will contribute to the anxiety level no matter what you do.
We can’t anticipate everything, but if you think about these components and your child’s needs beforehand, you will be able to have an amazing Easter! Your kids will have a great time and you will be able to enjoy the whole process. Have a wonderful Easter!