Our world has gotten so loud. Kid-friendly has come to mean chaotic, with each kid event louder, bigger, more stimulating than the last. Most kids don’t thrive under these conditions, and for introverted kids or those with sensory processing disorders and/or autism, these environments are incredibly painful and lead to meltdowns.
We are alienating these kids.
This is a primary theme in my chapter book Super Lexi Is Not a Fan of Christmas, as second-grader Lexi struggles to cut through the “hoopla” at her school during the holidays, and years to find her own peace. Reviewers have called it a “different” kind of a Christmas story, but I’m not convinced it’s that different from the experiences of many of our kids. The kids who are most likely to suffer from sensory overload are also the least likely to verbalize it. Experts estimate that 33-50% of our kids meet this description (source: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.)
My goal as a children’s author is to work toward a world that honors all kids and their unique, beautiful wiring. For these reasons, I teamed up with Amanda from The Good Food Factory to provide a cozy, quiet holiday cooking class. We turned down the volume and the lights to enjoy some respite and cozy holiday food. Amanda has amazing talent in offering a truly inclusive classroom, providing more stimulation for those who need it, without disrupting those who need quiet.
We read from Super Lexi Is Not a Fan of Christmas, we cooked latkes (Lexi’s favorite holiday food from her class party) and we sipped Lexi’s all-time favorite holiday drink, hot cocoa with marshmallows.
It was a cozy, delicious event. I feel so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with wonderful, compassionate Amanda. If you’re in the San Diego area, I highly recommend her kids’ cooking classes. And if you’re not, you can check out her kids’ TV cooking show and cook her healthy, kid-friendly food with your kids at home!