Before relatives you haven’t seen in a while come to visit, take some time to think about what you would put in a “tool kit” for your family member to make the best of their time with your child. I always remind parents and caregivers that they know their child best and are the true experts in anticipating how their child is going to respond to new situations.
When children have challenging behaviors, I work with families to outline potential triggers and develop ways to hopefully avoid them. AbilityPath has also developed some sample letters for visiting family members. If you have recent photos of the family members who will be visiting, use those as well in introducing the new face to your child on the days leading up to their arrival. Some families even have family members send short videos to the child that simply say “Hi, it’s Grandma Jane and I can’t wait to see you soon!” so the child has time to be reintroduced to the face and voice of ‘grandma.’
Utilize this as an opportunity to also share the recent accomplishments your child has achieved. These wins are just as important for family members to know as potential triggers. In fact, the successes can often help family members understand the journey of your child better and celebrate along with you.