I have always been a planner and organized things in my agenda. It used to be a paper agenda and sometimes still is, but now most of the time it is my calendar on my phone. I type in all the things I need to get done. Just like Michael has his little agenda and writes things down or draws them on paper, I write or record them in my phone. And this is where Michael and I now meet, at the planning stages. We talk about the days ahead and what we are going to do after school. Michael likes to plan out in advance where we will go. It gives him some measure of control in a world that I know feels out of control for him much of the time. Strangely though, as I blogged yesterday, Michael may then do spontaneous things when at the store or park, his two favorite places to go, which can throw him off, but he manages to regulate himself in no time.
I was amazed yesterday watching him in the store browsing through the household articles, toys and clothes, and starting his Christmas list shopping in the toy department. He even chose his Halloween costume, not a planned purchase. He liked what he saw, asked me if we could buy it, and as it fit in our budget, I said yes. I laughed later to myself that great, he took care of his Halloween costume purchase on the first week of school. What also happened is that later in the car we talked about our plans over the next few days after school, and what we would do over the long weekend. It’s great that I can have these conversations with Michael now and he with me. It’s also good that when he gets upset and he is about to behave aggressively verbally or physically, he is checking with me what are the consequences if he does this. It is a step toward learning to manage the anxiety that rules a lot of his life and how to find the strategies that help him.
Exceptional Parents, does planning help or hinder your Exceptional Child? Do they do better with detailed routines or a more general plan? The best things to do is to experiment with both techniques and see what works best for your child and family. Some children need more structure and routine, others may need a little less in order to learn to go with the flow. But organizing a calendar of events can definitively help you and your family have a more balanced life. Until next time.
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