TIP of the WEEK: Keeping Your Sanity Through the Holidays

Latham-Centers3For many families living with PWS, these are the most difficult 4 weeks out of the year. Many of you wish we could just fast forward to January and skip the food, family, and change in routine. Since that is not likely to happen here are some ways to get through it with your sanity (or most of it) intact.
1. If you can’t handle it, don’t go. Large family gatherings can be stressful and potentially dangerous. If your family members don’t get it, you are setting you and your child up for a lot of unnecessary frustration. Some families have a handle on your child’s needs and these events go smoothly but many do not have that luxury. Host a small gathering in your home for the people you really want to see. You can control the food and your child will feel more comfortable in their own home.
2. Keep the routine. Try to have the same wake up and bed times during short school breaks. It will be much easier to get back to the back to school routine if you keep these times the same.
3. It’s not just about the calories. Will an extra treat or serving cause immediate physical harm? Probably not but the addition of a food item that they we’re not expecting will cause emotional harm. The unknown- good or bad- causes anxiety and that anxiety causes unwanted behaviors. Grandma thinks a cookie is harmless but what grandma doesn’t understand is that she is causing high levels of stress to a child who thrives on predictability in all areas of his or her life.
4. Take care of yourself. This can’t be stressed enough. Take every opportunity you can to be alone and do something that you find relaxing.

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Patrice Carroll is Latham Centers’ world-renowned Prader-Willi Syndrome specialist. She works with Latham Centers’ residents with PWS, their families and consultants, continuously learning and teaching about PWS best practices. 

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