Michael has introduced me to many things. He has helped me see the world in his unique way: an orderly, occupied and curious way of questioning things I take for granted, such as what a person really meant when they said something, why do we focus so much on money and the news, which kids with a different brain like him pick up on. He has helped his father and I see how some of how our world works is a little strange, and not necessarily easily understood.
Summer is a rough time for Michael and kids on the spectrum, as it is a lot less concrete than what happens the rest of the year. Michael is learning what we accept and don’t accept, and we remind him of how he can make good choices versus bad choices. Using structured ways to calm down is important for everyone, and Dad and I have our own ways just as Michael does to handle exceptional parenting duties, as well as manage our own personal stresses. Below are the ways we structure our days to manage this.
6 Ways Exceptional Parents Can Structure Their Day:
- Use your own version of the dry erase board or pictogram schedule : Now, I know all parents have an agenda they use on their phone or in a book. We write down kids’ appointments, work commitments, but how many of us put in things like meditation time, exercise 1 hour, evening with the girls or guys? This is very important for your balance, and putting them in will make them easier to keep.
- Give yourself a pep talk about any events that may be stress inducing: This is my adult version of a social story. You remind yourself of the structure of the event, what’s going to happen, prepare yourself as you need to (if work related with your presentation and slides etc.), and look over pictures of the place, the rooms, the people you will meet (if you know in advance). Remember, this is to help you relax like when your child does it.
- Make sure you have movement breaks (exercise), snacks and drink lots of water: How often are we telling our kids to move when they feel stressed, to eat better and to drink lots of water? Imagine how good we would feel if we took this advice.
- Mix up work and fun: Our kids have work times and fun times in school. As adults, we rarely take time to have fun. I caught myself telling Michael the other day, I have lots of work to do,blah, blah, blah. It’s true, but once in awhile go for a drive, go to the park and read a book, go to a movie, You will come back recharged.
- Look at the glass half full instead of half empty: Remember think positive, do your best, and laugh about the silly moments. It will all work out anyway.
Exceptional Parents, how often have you looked at your children and thought despite their challenges, how well they work when they have a written or visual plan of action? Why not develop one for yourself then. After all, as their parent you have to be at the same calm place as they are when they are organized. From what I have seen and learned first hand, is when the parents are organized, calm, and centered, this can only help their child more. So don’t be afraid to do your own version of the dry erase board. You won’t regret the feeling of organization you have in your life. Until next time.