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School hol­i­days are ab­so­lutely a time to rest from the daily rou­tines of school, work and all that comes with the day-to-day de­mands of life. And away, play dates and more, hol­i­days can also Un­struc­tured time, change in the daily rou­tine and free time are wel­comed by many, but not by all. An all-too com­mon story at Fabic is par­ents at their wit’s end, melt­downs oc­cur­ring (from chil­dren and par­ents alike) and an over­all un­pleas­ant ex­pe­ri­ence for all con­cerned due to the lack of struc­ture that hol­i­days can bring. At Fabic, we un­der­stand that all un­wanted be­hav­iour is pre­ceded by anx­i­ety, as clearly stated in the Body Life Skills pro­gram (visit We also un­der­stand that “Anx­i­ety is a re­sult of a per­son not feel­ing equipped to deal with what is in front of them” as quoted by Serge Ben­hayon. So what is it about hol­i­days that some may not per­ceive they have the re­quired skills to re­spond to? What is it about un­struc­tured time, change in daily rou­tine and free time that trig­gers peo­ple’s anx­i­ety, thus trig­ger­ing un­wanted be­hav­iours? When a per­son’s life fol­lows a rou­tine, there is typ­i­cally a sense of pur­pose to each mo­ment as well as a clear ex­pec­ta­tion of what is ex­pected from them now and next in their life. Rou­tines and struc­ture al­low for all to pre­dict and thus feel equipped for what is in front of them and what is next. Lack of struc­ture, change in rou­tine and free time typ­i­cally are void of these clear ex­pec­ta­tions and sense of pur­pose. Some peo­ple have de­vel­oped the skills to bring clear struc­ture pre­vi­ous rou­tine is not cur­rent and bring a sense TIPS FOR GET­TING THROUGH THE HOL­I­DAYS • En­sure ev­ery­one has a clear pic­ture of what is

hap­pen­ing now and next in their life. • Sup­port peo­ple to de­velop the skills to bring a

sense of pur­pose to ev­ery mo­ment. • Hol­i­days are a great time to learn life skills not typ­i­cally taught in school. Think meal prepa­ra­tion, shop­ping, bud­get­ing, sched­ul­ing, so­cial skills etc. • sup­port­ing our body to be ready for the next day, week, year ahead. • Use vis­ual sched­ules to bring a new struc­ture and rou­tine to each day. At the be­gin­ning of the hol­i­days col­lect a list of all the ‘to dos’ for the hol­i­days but at the end of each day, bring a See right for an ex­am­ple of a vis­ual sched­ule. It is out with your chil­dren at the end of each day/week in prepa­ra­tion for the next day/week etc. This ex­am­ple pro­vides struc­ture and a sense of pur­pose to a pre­vi­ously un­struc­tured day, pro­vid­ing all with the same pic­ture. Re­mem­ber, there is a po­ten­tial learn­ing op­por­tu­nity in ev­ery mo­ment. Iden­ti­fy­ing and ac­tiv­ity brings a sense of pur­pose to each and ev­ery mo­ment. When peo­ple have a sense of pur­pose, there is ab­so­lutely no time for is­sues to be cre­ated.

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