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SEND Transitions: Preparing for the Christmas Break

by | Dec 13, 2023


The festive season, while full of joy and excitement, can also bring significant disruptions to the routines that pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) rely on. Preparing for the Christmas break requires thoughtful strategies to ensure that this time is enjoyable and not overwhelming. In this instalment, we will delve into the unique challenges of the holiday period and provide effective strategies for maintaining routines and preparing pupils for the break. 

Understanding the Holiday Challenges for SEND Pupils:

Christmas break can be a period of upheaval for SEND pupils. The sudden change in daily structure, the sensory overload from festive decorations and activities, and the social expectations can all be challenging. Recognising these potential stressors is the first step in mitigating their impact. 

Strategies for Maintaining Routines:

Maintaining some semblance of routine is crucial during breaks. Here’s how we can achieve this: 

  1. Visual Schedules: Create visual schedules that outline the holiday period, including special events, to give pupils a clear expectation of what’s to come. 
  2. Routine Practice: Practice holiday routines in advance, such as different wake-up times or meal patterns, to gently acclimatise pupils to the change. 
  3. Sensory Considerations: Prepare sensory-friendly activities and environments, ensuring that pupils have a safe space away from the festive chaos when needed. 

Activities to Prepare Pupils for the Break:

Activities can play a pivotal role in preparing SEND pupils for the break: 

  1. Social Stories and Role-Play: Use social stories to discuss the upcoming break and what it may involve. Role-play can help pupils practice handling different social situations they might encounter. 
  2. Crafting Predictable Festive Activities: Engage pupils in predictable, structured festive activities that allow them to enjoy the season’s joy without the stress of unpredictability. 
  3. Collaborative Planning with Parents: Collaborate with parents to ensure that the strategies used at school to support transitions are reinforced at home during the break. 

Pull-out Quote:

“Maintaining routines during the Christmas break helps SEND pupils enjoy the festive season with comfort and joy.” 


The Christmas break is a time for rest and celebration, but it can also be a source of stress for SEND pupils. By implementing the strategies discussed, SENCOs can help pupils and their families prepare for and enjoy this festive period. We encourage you to start these preparations well in advance, ensuring a happy and smooth transition into the holidays and back. 

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