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Graphic. A green box with a smiling face has eyes closed and is wearing a santa hat. Underneath it reads '12 Days of Calm Christmas'

News: Mindful countdown to Christmas launches today

Posted 14 December, 2022 by Jennifer Drummond

The 12 Days of Calm Christmas offers children and families daily mindfulness activities to cope with the busy festive period.

Social start-up, Wee Seeds, has created and launched the activities to help bring calm, reduce stress and contribute to a better night’s sleep in the run up to, and during, the Christmas holidays.

The mini-mindful exercises, aimed at children and their parents can help plant the seeds of focus, calmness, kindness and gratitude in early years children.

Christina Cran, mum of 10-year-old Fin and founder of Wee Seeds, said:

“We’ve been through many Decembers now when I’ve watched Fin getting more broken by the day. Often by the time Christmas Day comes, everyone is exhausted. We want to stop that happening.

“Taking a pause each day through mindfulness activities is proven to support our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. Our five-minute mindfulness activities will help parents bring calm and connection this December.”

The 12 mini-mindfulness activities are aimed at 3-8 year olds and have been given festive names such as Snow Angel, Festive Gratitude and Christmas Pause Button.

Wee Seeds will be sharing the exercises on social media from 14 December until Christmas Day. Follow on Facebook (click here to access), Instagram (click here to access) or Twitter (click here to access) for daily activities.

Alternatively, you can click here to download the 12 Days of Calm Christmas.

“This crisis is a chance to start talking about how much autistic people and neurotypicals have in common”

7 July 2020

Dr Peter Vermeulen is an internationally acclaimed autism consultant, lecturer and trainer. He has published more than 15 books on autism, including Autism as Context Blindness.

Ahead of his Children in Scotland webinar this Thursday, he explains how much we can learn from people with autism on how to manage stress and anxiety

What keeps me interested in autism, after all these years, is that I still haven’t found the answer. In fact, I now realise that you don’t need an ultimate answer to help autistic people and their families.

There’s a lot of value in trying to understand autism and develop all kinds of educational, behavioural treatment strategies to help people. But maybe we overlooked the basic human need of autistic people and that’s wellbeing. My focus has become more about the basic human needs that autistic children have and what neurotypical and autistic people have in common.

If we look at today’s climate and especially in the Covid crisis, I think we all have a lot in common. That’s why this webinar about stress management is important.

Whether you have autism or not – we have all of us gone through a period of increased stress, heightened anxiety and a lot of uncertainty and I think this crisis may be the moment to start talking about how we are not that different after all.

I have even gone so far as to describe this as a big ‘autism experience’ experiment. All non-autistic people, and all children, now have to go through what is probably daily life for many autistic people – so for children, isolation, separation from peers, but also uncertainties, about school, about not seeing grandparents, about so many things.

And this is why I and other experts have been interviewing autistic adults to ask them how they cope with anxiety so that they can give neurotypicals advice. Because they’re the experts in anxiety and stress.

We can learn a lot from autistic people, how they cope with stress but also the impact of stress if you don’t manage it. If you experience stress for too long, it makes you sick, literally. It weakens your immune system.

We are all scared of this virus but there’s another thing that is threatening the bodies of autistic children and that’s the stress hormone, cortisol. This has the potential to make young people even more vulnerable so it’s crucial we address the issue of stress management as we continue to cope with the crisis.

What I hope people will gain from this webinar is an awareness that it’s the pile-up of stress that causes the most problems. Some people don’t realise that it’s in the moments of calm, when the child is happy and playing, that it is that moment to do the relaxation exercise. It is then that they are open to it and it will most effective.

The moment the child gets into a meltdown or a panic attack, it’s too late, because then the child is not open to new things. Stress management should be included in the daily schedule along with planning mealtimes and taking a shower.

Also, I want parents and practitioners to know that they have some influence, that they can make a difference. As a parent sometimes you feel powerless but I want to let parents know that there are a lot of things that they can do, like cycling or running with their children – psychologists won’t do that with them.

Our webinar Stress Management in Autism: with Dr Peter Vermeulen takes place this Thursday 9 July, at 3pm.

About the author

Dr Peter Vermeulen is an acclaimed autism consultant, lecturer and trainer

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Stress Management in Autism webinar

Register your place on Dr Vermeulen's upcoming webinar

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Learning online

We've a great programme of webinars to support all your CPD needs this summer

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Not Included, Not Engaged, Not Involved

Our 2018 report found autistic children were missing out on their right to an education

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