Need a few pointers on how to get through the holiday season with little to no new gray hairs developing in the process?

Here’s a few tips on how to make sure you and your special little one make it through this year.

Plan Your Escape

Things going awry is bound to happen.

It’s best just to accept it and make a plan for it rather than having your own meltdown over it.

Develop a signal or time limit on how long you and your family will be present at holiday gatherings.

If your child appears to be coping better than expected once you get there, then it’s okay to make amendments and stay a little longer, as long as you’re ready to hit the road if things suddenly take a turn for the worse.

If your holiday travel includes overnight plans, go for a hotel room if your budget allows to provide your child and family a quiet place to regroup in between events.

If everyone is coming to your home for the holidays, make your child’s off limits to guests and keep it designated as your child’s “chaos-free zone.”

Attire Isn’t Important

Sure, your sister Allyson’s perfect little angels are dressed to the nines in corduroys and holiday-themed sweaters.

Doesn’t mean your kid has to be, especially if they are sensory-sensitive and can’t stand the feel of cable-knit.

If little Rocco wants to wear his favorite Ninja Turtle sweatsuit, so be it.

You want to start your child out in the holidays with the lowest stress level possible, and when he or she is able to enjoy their time with their fellow cousins for a longer period of time, what they are wearing really won’t matter to anyone.

Ask About the Menu

It’s not rude to ask your holiday hosts to give you a rundown of their menu for their gathering.

If you notice there’s nothing on the menu that your child will eat, politely ask to bring a dish for him or her.

Explain that your need to bring something for little Rocco is prevent problems and get through the meal with as little trauma as possible.

If they are an adult with any sensibility at all, they will understand and be delighted you offered to take care of extra cooking instead of requesting they add another item to their menu.

Take Shifts Watching the Kids

While you’re making out an escape plan, go ahead and let your partner know that you’ll be sharing kid-watching duties during the holidays.

This way, you both can enjoy breaks with other adults and possibly add a little more time spent at each gathering.

Finally, one last tip: don’t overbook.

Politely explain to your bazillion family members that you are only able to do so much then refuse to feel guilty for choosing to skip out on great-aunt Mary’s chittlin’ dinner on Christmas Eve.

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