Holiday Stress Relievers for Moms of Kids with Special Needs

by Nov 24, 2014Holidays, Special Needs Parenting4 comments

Kids with special needs aren’t the only people who need holiday stress relievers. Moms of kids with special needs could use a few, too. Guest blogger Liz Matheis offers 3 holiday stress relievers for busy moms and other caregivers, too.

I know you know that the holidays are coming. You know that the holidays are coming. The holidays are great, but…. It throws off everybody’s schedule, including yours, which means higher stress, lower frustration tolerance, less sleep, and an unhappy holiday season. Not good.

This time around, you’re not going to hear about how to make the season manageable for your children. Rather, this time, it’s about you, the parent! So, let me offer a few strategies to help you get through the season, and maybe even enjoy it!

Holiday Stress Reliever #1: Wrap It Up Early

Nobody ever meant for this season to be so hectic and unenjoyable. Unfortunately, we dread the intense shopping and running around so much that we tend to put it off. But, what if you started early?

You can make this season easy by creating a list of who you have to shop for. Next, take a look for these items on-line and/or in store. Then, put it on your agenda to shop for 2-3 items or 1-2 people every 2 weeks starting now. For teachers, encourage class parents to collect money from each student and offer one class present instead of having to buy your child’s teacher a little something that takes you out of your way. The other moms will thank you also.

As you buy it, wrap it, and put it away. By the time it’s time, you will be ready.

Holiday Stress Reliever #2: Stick to Your Routine

You have a routine that you know your child with special needs thrives on. No need to change it just because it’s holiday season. If there are going to be deviations to the schedule, put it on the calendar and let your child know that things will return to business as usual the next day.

If you have holiday parties to attend, hire a babysitter and let your child continue on with the evening’s schedule so you are not trying to anticipate needs, meltdowns, and entertainment for your child. This also gives you the opportunity to enjoy a holiday party, and actually enjoy the season!

Holiday Stress Reliever #3: Work It Out

Trying to balance the holiday season with your job may be another part-time position. If you know that a big deadline or project is coming up, anticipate ahead (just as you did for the shopping list), and start working on your project in small chunks early. Gather the information you need, create a template, work on small parts of it each day so that you are not working late nights or starting super early.

These three strategies will help keep your stress level down which means that your family will not likely feed off of your anxiety and become increasingly anxious as well. Keep it slow and steady. That’s how you’ll make it through the holiday season!

What Are Your Holiday Stress Relievers?

What do you do to avoid, reduce, and relieve stress during the holiday season? Leave your ideas in the comment box…but only if it doesn’t stress you out!

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By Liz Matheis

Dr. Liz Matheis is a clinical psychologist and school psychologist in Parsippany, NJ. She offers support, assessments, and advocacy for children who are managing Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, learning disabilities, and behavioral difficulties, as well as their families. She is also a contributor to several popular magazines. Visit for more information.


  1. Jolene

    You are very welcome, Deborah!

  2. Jolene

    You are very welcome, Deborah!

  3. Deborah

    Good advice! Thanks for sharing

  4. Deborah

    Good advice! Thanks for sharing

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Meet Jolene

Jolene Philo is a published author, speaker, wife, and mother of a son with special needs.



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