Helping Your Orchid Kids Navigate the Holidays

Existential Dread Barbie

Am I ever going back to school?

If so, when? If not, why not!

Did I do something bad?

Did the school disappear?

I haven’t seen those people in a while, do they still exist?

Where are they? Why don’t I see them anymore?


Are we moving to Grandma’s house?

Will I see my house again? My toys? My room?

Will I have to live here forever?

Will my parents stay here? When they leave, will they come back?

Who’s coming over now? Are they coming back tomorrow?

Who is that? Do I have to say hello?

Will they want to play what I want to play? Will they steal my toys?


Where is my mac and cheese? What is this other weird food?

Why are my parents telling me to eat something new?

Why are there so many people at dinner?

Why do I have a different plate, cup, fork, chair, place at the table?


Why don’t I feel well?

Why can’t I fall asleep?

What are those strange noises, strange lights, strange shadows on the wall?


As the holidays begin their march toward us, this is a partial list of the existential questions that your Orchid Kids might (unknowingly) be asking themselves.

As you read this list of questions, did you start to feel queasy like I did?

Did it start to put your child’s “bad behavior” into context?

No school, no therapies, extra family, different foods, travel, messed up sleep, maybe an illness or two: as we adults are juggling all the extra responsibilities and changes to the routine, our kids are dealing with the same things in different ways and without any self-awareness of what’s actually happening.

Given that a disruption to the schedule can feel like a trip to Mars, is it any wonder that our Orchid Kids “act up” over the holidays?

So, what to do about it? Here are some tips for making a schedule out of no schedule.

  • Make a plan. You don’t need to schedule every minute of the day, but your Orchid wants to know what the program is. Make a plan in advance.
  • Talk to your Orchid about the plan. Review the past day at dinner or bedtime and talk about the day to come in as much or as little detail as your Orchid needs.
  • Give your Orchid an “Out.” Let them know in advance what their options are if they become overwhelmed at a family gathering. Can they go to their room? To their cozy corner? Come and sit on your lap and ask to leave the event?
  • Take some time for yourself when someone else can watch your Orchid for a short time. Even if it’s 15 minutes so you can walk around the block or sit and drink a cup of tea: make yourself a priority. Calming your nervous system will allow you to help you calm your Orchid Kid’s nervous system.