Managing Problem Behavior at Home
A Guide to a more Confident and Effective Parenting
To curb the Covid-19 pandemic, we are encouraged to stay at home and limit our time spent outside. This new normal has greatly impacted children with autism. Disruptions to their daily routines can be extremely stressful for them. As a result, there may be apparent regressions in their skills and understanding which cause a higher likelihood of them having meltdowns. Have a look at our tips here to introduce new routines to them as well as to ease their anxiety during these times of uncertainty.
Create a Schedule
To help your children to understand and adapt to new routines, you may create daily schedules for your children to follow at home. Routines may include activity like learning time, exercise time, snack time, meal time, shower time, nap time, TV-time and free play time. By presenting the schedules visually, it helps your children to understand the daily expectations and to reduce their anxiety.
Calming Tools & Strategies
Identifying activities or items that help your children to calm down is really beneficial in the long run, with or without pandemic. Every child is different but we have noticed the tools and strategies below help many of our students:
- calming corner
- listening to music
- lying on the beanbag
- fidget toys (e.g. spiky ball)
- deep breathing
When your children start showing signs of distress, you’re encouraged to actively redirect them to use the calming tools and strategies that are most effective for them.
These physical activities help to strengthen the children’s motor skills and attention span. They also provide quality family time that promotes social skills. Children also learn to use up their energy appropriately with these activities. Here are some of our favorite activities that you can do at home with your children:
- baking activities
- house chores (doing laundry, washing cars)
- pillow fights
- arts and craft
- hide and seek
- dancing with family members
Keep in mind that your children are still developing many different skills, so some activities may be difficult for them. So don’t be afraid to pick and tailor the activities for your children so that they are both fun and safe for your children!
Setting some time aside for work time allows the children to practice the skills they’ve learned. Below are some tips for implementing work time at home:
- Set up a workstation for your children, such as a table or a room designated for work time.
- Start with simple and achievable tasks. For example, instead of asking your children to complete a full page of their worksheets, let’s start by asking them to complete one question at the workstation.
- When they are able to complete simple tasks, gradually increase the difficulty of the tasks.
Some days your children may be crankier than others, you could be more empathetic and adjust your expectations accordingly. Remember to praise your children after every successful task as this motivates them to keep on going!
It is indeed hard work to care for your children, so don’t forget to practice self-care, such as deep breathing and taking breaks. What is better than a super-parent, is a happy super-parent!