Christmas Meltdowns, Supermarket Style
Anybody with a child on the autism spectrum will know that meltdowns are that bit different from your more ‘typical’ tantrum and that during this festive time of year they tend to be on the increase.
This is true for Little man, what with all those emotions mixed together, excitement, anxiety and more, there is just bound to be an increase in this behaviour, however knowing about it can make it that bit easier… OK, not that much but hey any improvement is better than no improvement isn’t it?
It’s extremely hard to avoid those things that make our children over stimulated especially when it’s the whole business of Christmas itself that tends to bring about such behaviour! Supermarkets are always that bit more crowded, then there are all the festivities happening around us.
My Little man has never coped well with the whole shopping situation and I discovered last year just how much worse this becomes at Christmas! Seriously, there is no quiet time to shop in December, nonetheless, this is a good time however to try to raise some awareness for the condition and how sensory overload can play a huge part in our children’s behaviour! Just think about it, how do you feel when you’re darting around the supermarket last-minute trying to get all the bits for your Christmas dinner, everything is sold out, the place is bursting at the seams with other shoppers who are walking about at the pace of a snail and in the background you can hear people rattling charity tins as the local choir stood at the stores entrance belts out the sounds of “Ding Dong Merrily On High” yet there you are feeling a little less than festive when you’re in a rush and somehow no matter how fast you go… Nothing seems to get done!
Come on, we’ve all been there, haven’t we? Well, I know I have and I’ll be honest when saying… It leaves me feeling bloody stressed out to the max.
Yes, we shouldn’t leave things till the last minute but not every family is in a position to shop at the beginning of the month, myself included!
I don’t know 100% but I’m guessing this is how my son feels on trips to the local supermarket, just how I feel when Christmas shopping at the last minute, so can you imagine how much worse it becomes for the child with Asperger’s during such a festive period?
I say I’ve learned my lesson every year, have I really? No of course not, I still return to the supermarket the next year, kids in tow, battling the crowds as I try to do my Christmas food shop and it’s always the same… the end result is… Cans of baked beans rolling down aisle 10 and Little man shouting some pretty offensive language (at me of course) while kicking anything or worse, anyone in his reach! Not a pretty thought is it!
If you’re in a position to leave that little darling at home, I’d say… GO FOR IT! If you’re not then if you can, then do it as early as possible to get it out the way!
There is always the option of paying for your Christmas at the beginning of the year, and this isn’t just for the reason of spreading the cost but also avoiding the big Christmas rush and therefore huge Christmas meltdown.
Still, I don’t know why I’m telling you this? Do I take my own advice?
Never… though I really should! Still, like many, I always find that Christmas is the last thing I want to be thinking about come January and then before I know it we’re in November and this mum is panicking BIG STYLE!
Maybe next year I’ll order myself a big fat hamper filled to the brim with Christmas goodies! Who knows, I can only but hope I hear myself saying that in January!
I hold my hands up, I do still have the stuff to buy and I do see one or two meltdowns on the horizon.
Here’s a couple of things I will be doing to help avoid a blow up or a least a monster scale meltdown!
The biggest advice I can give myself or anyone else who are yet to shop, would be not to get too stressed! (Easier said than done, I know). However, when I’m stressed Little man easily picks up on my mood and therefore becomes more stressed himself! This is an important lesson I’ve learnt to date, regardless of the time of year or situation.
Another example why stressing is a super bad idea is the fact that it causes me to parent poorly, I can’t do the job that I’m meant to do, I become a wreck and becoming a wreck results in a worse meltdown from Little man. It’s all about remaining calm, dealing with the children best I can and getting the hell out of there!
Another piece of valuable advice I can offer is… Ignore the judgemental finger pointers, the glaring eyes of your fellow shoppers, who gives a rats arse what they think? Seriously it’s so not worth it!
Yes, I’ve stood in the supermarket trying to educate my fellow shoppers on autism, Aspergers or sensory processing and at any other time, I’d say, ‘Yay… go for it’ but at this busy & already stressful time of year, my advice is worry about no one but you and the children, get your shopping and get on out of there.
You could always do what I’m planning and wear a t-shirt with the words,
“Merry Christmas my child has Aspergers”