I loved reading the book The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster to my students. When we got to the section on The Doldrums, my students never heard of this word before. We discussed how the word meant a feeling of boredom or depression and many of my special education students shared that this is how they felt during holiday vacations. Many even confessed to having behavior problems because they were bored.
I began to think about how we can be advocates for these students and also help parents by giving parents suggestions for this time. Here is a list of things I suggest to parents:
1. Have a written schedule for each day even if it is your usual routine. Visual schedules help my students feel grounded.
2. Plan an activity each day for the student to look forward to.
3. Start new traditions during this time and share old memories of holidays
4. Give the students one or two choices to do something so they feel they have some control over their lives.
5. Discuss with the student ways to handle boredom, anger, etc. before it happens. Try to find a signal to let the student recognize that their behavior is escalating.
Some activities could be:
· Drawing paper, crayons or colored paper for art work.
· Use old CDs and make an animal. Check out these examples.
· Bake cookies.
· Bake something to give to the local police dept. or fire dept. to show appreciation.
· Watch a holiday movie together.
· Play a board game together.
· Visit a nursing home to cheer the elderly.
· Volunteer at a soup kitchen.
· Create a story book and illustrate it. Donate it to a children’s center.
· Create an animal using Styrofoam balls, yarn, pipe cleaners, glue, uncooked macaroni.
Do you have any fun activities parents could do with their children during the holidays? Please share.