When it comes to ensuring the academic and emotional well-being of my children, I believe in focusing on them as a whole. Both of my children, when having a bad day, get approached initially in the same way. We question if they’ve slept enough, eaten enough, and triage the situation. For Squeaker, though, we have some additional tricks in the bag to help make it through the day when sleep, food, and a few extra hugs don’t do the trick.
5 Go-To Secrets For Calming Children with Autism Right Now
- Walks. Sometimes just getting him out of the house and putting feet to pavement (or gravel trail) helps regulate things again. I guess it helps work out all that extra dopamine in his brain and there’s no accounting for those feel-good hormones you get from exercising!
- Trampoline Jumps. We’ll give him a random number of times to go jump on his trampoline if he’s cycling out of control and can’t seem to reign himself in. I think this helps distract him from any impulsive acts, but it also serves the same purpose as the first strategy. We repeat the trampoline jumps if necessary. He likes the jumping and he likes counting, so it works for him.
- Ridiculousness. It seems innocuous, but if he’s not too far gone and I blurt out something like, “Oh my gosh! I see an elephant driving a police car” then he gets thrown off course and we regain some traction. In fact, we practice this one often enough that he can get involved in the escapade and begin naming ridiculous animal situations, like dogs drinking Pepsi. For some reason, a dog drinking Pepsi is the high point of hilarity for him. In begin this game of ridiculous situations, we go from potential meltdown to laughter. This also works with pictures. You can find or make pictures of silly situations like giraffes eating spaghetti and ask if giraffes eat spaghetti or something like that and it really does help. Try it!
- Take a trip. Either his father or I will take him out somewhere without his brother for a special trip. Many times, the root cause of his irritation comes from the social aspect of home (aka sharing with his brother) and he just needs a break from that. It gives him and his brother both individual time with either of us, too.
- The Sandbox. We bought him a sandbox to help with his sensory modulation disorder. It helps calm him sometimes and he has always liked sifting through things. When we go to the beach, he always goes for the sand. The sandbox sits right outside the front door on the covered porch so we can use whether it’s sunny or rainy.
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Sometimes it takes a combination of all these approaches to get things settled. If we’re having a truly rotten day, we just keep combining our approaches to get through the day. We all have bad days, so it’s important to remember that the common things that work with most children should always be attempted first. If those things don’t work, try the 5 go-to secrets you read above in whatever combination you find works for your child and see what happens.