On the Horizon – 12/13/11

Welcome to “On the Horizon”

Issue 173: The Holidays are Here: How to Thrive During this Busy Time of Year!

On the Horizon is an award winning weekly ezine for parents of children with developmental disabilities who want simple, effective strategies to reduce stress, support their child’s development, and improve quality of life for the whole family.

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  • A Note from Nicole: Horizons Holiday Party
  • Feature Article:
    The Holidays are Here: How to Thrive During this Busy Time of Year!
  • Ask the Horizons Team
  • Upcoming Events: Simple Solutions Seminar & Sibshop
  • Recommended Resources

Hi Everyone!

This past Saturday was our annual Horizons Holiday Party for our client families.  It’s always a fun event, and this year was no exception!  I love seeing all the kids enjoy their time with Santa, especially those who have never had the opportunity to do it before due to long lines, noise, fear, etc.  We’re able to get some great memorable photos for our families, and love seeing everyone having a great time together.  Check out our website later this week for some photos of the fun!

As you’re preparing for the holidays this year, don’t forget about the simple things that can make like easier and more sane for your family during this busy time.  Courtney’s feature article this week provides some good tips for making the most of this season without going crazy!

Need some non-electronic gift ideas for the kids on your list?  Check out the Ask the Horizons Team feature below for some of Michelle’s ideas.

Make it a great week!

Looking to the horizon,

The Holidays are Here: How to Thrive During this Busy Time of Year!

By Courtney Kowalczyk, M.Ed.

The snow is falling here in Michigan, and the winter season has begun to set in.  Neighborhoods are buzzing with children sledding down snow covered hills, and families are busily decorating their homes.  It really is “beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!”

Before we know it, school winter breaks will be here and our children will be home for a couple of weeks.  With the holidays right around the corner, I thought it might be helpful to share some tips and activity ideas that will help you and your family thrive during this busy time of the year.

Click here to read the rest of this article…


I was wondering if you had any good Christmas ideas as far as games for my son. Maybe something that would help him but still be fun? We are “trying” to go a little less electronic this year. If you have any other suggestions, that would be great too. Thanks for your time.

-Aimee in Michigan


It’s great that you are thinking of ways to decrease electronics. Television, movies, and video games can be nice for some relaxing times, but should be limited to about an hour a day. I read in a recent study that the average child watches 50-60 hours of television a week! As a result, children are being negatively impacted, including increased aggression and decreased attention; plus other negative side affects such as robbing the mind of important things like reading, writing, creative play and story telling, friendship development and so much more.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for your son:

  1. Anything that can help keep your child moving is important. Regulated movement has shown many benefits such as clarity in thinking skills, increased processing, and improved focus. Movement wakes up the brain and will prepare your child to learn. A few things to consider are scooters, bicycles, balls, a jump rope, a membership to a workout facility (preferably one with a pool), a ski club card, or a basketball clinic.
  2. Board games can be a wonderful way to help children learn important lessons such as taking turns, graciously winning and losing, team work, and coming up with strategies (creative thinking). This is also a great way to encourage family time. One of my greatest memories as a child is sitting downstairs with my family, by the wood burner, playing the game of LIFE. ThinkFun is one of my favorite companies, offering a variety of games that are both education and very fun! Games like Stratego and Battleship are also great games for older kids!
  3. Arts and Crafts are a great way to encourage creativity. It also develops fine motor skills, building of competence, and doing things for others. My children love to make things for other people and feel great about doing it!
  4. Building sets of blocks, WEDGiTS, or LEGO’s are also great gifts that encourage creativity, planning and implementing, thinking, problem solving, and playing with others or alone. There are so many things you can do with these sorts of things. Kids love to build fences for animals, castles, or even cities with any building materials they can find.

I hope that helps! Happy shopping!


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