I began a tradition a few years ago in our house in an effort to gradually plan and keep a calm to the holiday season for our Autistic daughter. Each year we incorporate a set of days during the holidays that teaches our family about kindness, compassion, and demonstrating thanks! I designate 10 days between now and Thanksgiving as days of thanks. Whether it’s “Thankful Thursdays” or alternating weekends, we select days that our whole family can spend together.
• Appreciating one another’s health, abilities and accomplishments is an excellent way to reflect on all the reasons to be thankful from the past year. You’ll all get great ideas for your Thanksgiving day grace and you’ll be thankful for the time spent relaxing together during the busy season.
• Thankful time as a family presents a great opportunity to take family holiday photos, or watch family movies to further reiterate everything you are all thankful for. Pass around a bowl of popcorn, grapes or snack mix and with every handful say something nice to the person to your right. Play charades with a thankful theme. Any time spent together that stimulates a thankful state of mind will be beneficial to your family.
The Turkey Diary is a super fun activity my oldest daughter really looks forward to when it is pulled out of the cedar chest each year!
• Start a Turkey day diary. Purchase a notebook or journal for your family to pass around the weeks before Thanksgiving. Having each member take the time to jot down what they’re thankful for gives each one of you a quiet time to reflect on the past year. Letting younger family members dictate their thoughts, and giving teens colored pens to add their personal flair add other elements to your family’s ‘Thankful Time Capsule’. Year after year, you all can add to this “notebook time capsule” during your designated Thankful Family Days each year!
This tradition was created out of concern for our young Autistic daughter that would get extremely sensory overloaded during the holiday season. We also wanted to create a way to teach our oldest daughter to reflect on being thankful and teach lessons of gratitude, and to create a time to introduce to our young Autistic daughter the pictures, colors, and decor of the upcoming holidays!
Early Autism Interventions
Founder Joy Falahee
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