For Kids & Families

For Providers

An Open Letter from an Occupational Therapist to All Families This Holiday Season

Dear Families,

As we gather to celebrate the joyous holiday season, it is with a warm and open heart that I reach out to you, not just as an Occupational Therapist, but as someone who wishes for every family to experience the true essence of acceptance and understanding during this special time. It is my sincere hope that this letter serves as a gentle reminder to lead with acceptance, avoid unnecessary pressure, and wholeheartedly embrace your children for who they are and where they are in their unique journey.
In the spirit of fostering a more inclusive and supportive holiday environment, I have created a simple template that you can personalize for your child and share with friends and family this season.

My child might _______________, and that's ok.

Fill in the blank with any specific needs or accommodations your child may require. I've prepared a series of ten examples for your reference.

  1. My child might get overwhelmed in busy environments, and that's ok.
    Understanding and accepting their need for a calm environment is crucial for their well-being. It allows us to create a space where they feel secure, fostering positive family interactions.

  2. My child might not like hugs, and that's ok.
    Respecting their personal space and finding alternative ways to express affection fosters a sense of comfort. This helps build a trusting relationship where our child feels emotionally safe within the family dynamic.

  3. My child might not eat the meal, and that's ok.
    Recognizing that everyone has different preferences ensures a stress-free dining experience for our child. This promotes an inclusive family environment where everyone's needs are considered, leading to more enjoyable meals together.

  4. My child might prefer wearing comfy clothing, and that's ok.
    Allowing them to dress in a way that feels comfortable promotes a sense of security and self-expression. This encourages a family culture that values individuality and self-confidence.

  5. My child might do better when we stick with routines, so we will be leaving at 5, and that's ok.
    Prioritizing their routine ensures a smoother experience for everyone, and your understanding is appreciated. This helps establish a predictable family routine, creating a sense of stability and reducing stress for all members.

  6. My child might need a break by stepping outside or finding a quiet space, and that's ok.
    Recognizing their need for a break and providing a supportive environment for self-regulation is beneficial. It cultivates an understanding within the family about the importance of mental well-being and self-care.

  7. My child might use a "calm down" kit, and that's ok.
    Having tools to manage stress is part of their coping mechanism, and your awareness is appreciated. This emphasizes the family's role in supporting each other's coping strategies and fostering a caring, empathetic environment.

  8. My child may have big feelings if the plans change, and that's ok.
    Communication about changes ensures a smoother transition for our child and a more enjoyable experience for everyone. It highlights the significance of clear communication within the family, promoting flexibility and adaptability.

  9. My child may take time to warm up to new people, and that's ok.
    Allowing them the time to build trust in social situations contributes to positive social interactions. This underscores the family's role in fostering a supportive atmosphere for individual comfort levels, promoting strong social connections.

  10. My child may need to wear headphones, and that is ok.
    Sometimes a simple sound blocker can make them feel more at ease and ready to celebrate. This underscores the importance of respecting sensory needs within the family, and creating an inclusive environment where everyone can participate comfortably in shared experiences.

May your holidays be filled with love, understanding, and the warmth of embracing the simple beauty of things being ok.

We've taken an extra step to make things easy for you! We've created a template you can use to send a warm email to your friends and family, complete with your personalized reminders.

Email Template:

Subject: Getting Ready for Holiday Cheer 🎉

Hey [Recipient's Name],

We're looking forward to celebrating with you this holiday season! As we gear up for the festivities, I'm all about fostering that sense of togetherness. I wanted to share a few things about [INSERT CHILD'S NAME]. These are some simple truths that make them, well, them. Your openness and acceptance mean the world to us this season and always.

  1. [Your personalized reminder]

  2. [Your personalized reminder]

  3. [Your personalized reminder]

  4. [Your personalized reminder]

  5. [Your personalized reminder]

Thanks a bunch for being part of our celebration and for embracing what makes our family so special.

Cheers, [Your Name]

You're your child's greatest champion, and we've got your back. We believe in you, and we're here to support you.