There’s no place like home for the holidays…where kids will be looking for things to do! Why not get them into the holiday spirit by getting creative? Having your child help with holiday-themed activities can build fine motor skills and build comprehension and direction-following skills – all while having fun! Below are some fun ideas:

  • Bake Cookies - have your child stir, roll out the dough, use a cookie cutter and even have them decorate with icing! This can also be a food tactile sensory and food exploration activity.

  • Wrap Gifts - have your child use safety scissors to help cut the wrapping paper, tape it together and add a peel n’ stick bow.

  • Create Cards - have your child make holiday cards for friends and family to work on coloring and writing their name, if they are able. You can put stickers on the cards to add an extra fine motor activity.

  • Make Hot Cocoa - work on having your child follow directions, measure and pour to make hot cocoa. You can get them to add small marshmallows to work on grasping and counting.

  • Craft Snowflake Decorations - Have your child fold up a piece of paper and carefully cut out pieces; when you open it up it will be a snowflake!

  • Make “Winter” Play Dough - Measure 1/2 cup of hair conditioner and 1 cup of cornstarch (you may need to add more to get the right consistency); mix it together and knead the play dough until it becomes smooth and soft. Optional: add blue sparkles and spruce essential oil.

  • Read Holiday-Themed Books - Reading holiday-themed books helps kids prepare for what's to come in terms of holidays! Seeing pictures that involve potential holiday decorations, food, traditions, etc., can help them get a sense for what the holidays might look like. If your child has a favorite character or book series, try searching holiday titles involving these characters (e.g. Pete the Cat Saves Christmas, Merry Christmas Curious George, etc.). Ask your child questions (who, what, when, where, and why) while you read your favorite holiday stories and help them to form phrases and sentences to answer the questions appropriately. Going to the library or bookstore and letting them be involved in the process of picking books to read is also a fun activity for kids!

  • Introduce Holiday Songs - Get your little ones excited about the holidays by singing holiday songs! Some songs we will be singing at Lumiere are: “Jingle Bells”, “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”, and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”. You can always search songs online for help. If your holiday plans with family and friends include any specific songs (e.g. religious ceremonies), practice those lyrics with your children so they are familiar.

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Please join us in giving back to kids in need this season by bringing new or gently used, unwrapped toys, clothing and shoes to our location. We will be distributing these items to various children’s therapies in Chicago. Thank you helping us spread holiday cheer!

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The holidays can be stressful, but they don’t have to be! Here are some tips to keep your holiday season “merry and bright”:

  1. Kids thrive on routine and structure. If your child’s daily routine will be changing for the holidays, make sure you prepare them by telling them in advance. Making a schedule can help with this – we recommend getting a monthly calendar. You can put important events on the calendar and have them cross out each day, so they can expect when events are approaching.

  2. Holiday parties can be loud and overstimulating to children. Make sure you give them support when needed. Seek out a “safe place” your child can go to, to calm down (maybe a quiet room, bathroom or the car); if you see your child is beginning to get overstimulated you can remove them from the environment and take them to the “safe place” in order to prevent and treat overstimulation.

  3. Create social stories for off-routine days: If your child is feeling nervous about the routine change of holiday plans, it may help to make a social story (or find one online) so they know what to expect. Make a short book outlining your families holiday steps and include related pictures. Be sure to read your “book” multiple times leading up to the holiday so your child is prepared for the day and has a good understanding of the sequence of events that will take place. You can even have them help by drawing the pictures for more involvement! (i.e. “Christmas Morning at Our House”.1) wake up 2) get dressed 3) grandma and grandpa come over 4) open presents 5) have breakfast together as a family.) If your child has feeding difficulties, be sure to include in your story specific food items that will be served so your child feels prepared to see, and potential try, foods not typically consumed.

  4. Keep things positive! When talking about events, bring up fun and exciting things so your child has something to look forward to and is more motivated to participate.

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Kitsa Antonopoulos (right) is presented with the Alumni Merit Award from Dr. Mardell Wilson, Ed.D., RD, LDN, Dean of Doisy College of Health Sciences.  Photo Credit: SLU

Kitsa Antonopoulos (right) is presented with the Alumni Merit Award from Dr. Mardell Wilson, Ed.D., RD, LDN, Dean of Doisy College of Health Sciences.

Photo Credit: SLU

"It was an honor for me to recently be chosen by my alma mater, Saint Louis University, to receive the 2018 Doisy College of Health Sciences Alumni Merit Award. This award is the culmination of how my education set the foundation for the philosophy that Lumiere Children's Therapy is built upon; taking time to understand the needs of families and helping to guide them so they can get access to the services that they need. This is at the heart of the core values I created for Lumiere Children's Therapy."

From our family to yours, wishing you a blessed holiday season and a happy new year!

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