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Five Ways to Show — and Prep for — Thanksgiving with Your Special-Needs Child

  • deron
  • October 22, 2019

Thanksgiving is around the corner, and with the cranberry sauce, turkey, and football games comes the opportunity to give back and give thanks to those you love and appreciate. Naturally, this extends to our family, and there can be important and reassuring ways to show thanks to those nearest to us: our children. Before the holiday lights of December go up, take some time to pause and reflect on your blessings, and explore some tips for how to best say thank you — in word and deed.

 

1 Consider a joint activity

The hand turkey has been a staple for years and years. How can you make it fresh for your child? Spend a weekend or evening tracing your hands on pieces of seasonally colored paper (stock up on your yellows, oranges, reds, and browns) and then carefully cut out and color the palm portion. Then, on the fingers, you and your child can write out five things you are each grateful for, one on each finger.

 

2 Prep your child for Thanksgiving dinner’s benediction

Does your family have holiday traditions around the Thanksgiving dinner table? Many, in some form, go around and give each relative or friend the chance to say one thing they’re thankful for. It might not be a bad idea to tell your child this activity will happen so they feel prepared and have time to consider the thing they’d like to share. Plus, by doing the hand turkey first you’ll have equipped them with many things to say!

 

3 Treat your child to a favorite dessert

Good nutrition is very important for children, especially those with special needs, but the holidays are a time of slight indulgence and Thanksgiving lets you use that as a way to share a treat with your child that will lift their spirits. Surprise them one night with an after-dinner dessert (with enough hours before bedtime!) to show them that you are grateful for them, love them, and wanted to do something nice around this family holiday.

 

4 Write them a card

Let your child practice their reading skills while giving them a card to show your thanks! Experiment with an acrostic poem using their name as the subject and adjectives or activities that make you think of them as each letter’s phrase. If they so enjoy the card, encourage them to make one of their own for someone they treasure, be it a teacher, classmate, relative, or friend.

 

5 Take them shopping

Is there a new toy, snuggle buddy, blanket, or piece of clothing your little one is hankering for? If you choose to selectively spoil your child, this might be a good time to indulge, especially while taking them out with you. Have them practice communicating with the retail staff: what item are they looking for? Why do they like this certain item? Show thanks with a small gift to usher in the holiday season and show your selfless appreciation for your child.