Yesterday was another PED DAY. Michael was thrilled that he was home from school and looking forward to his day off. For me, it was great to have him home, and we enjoyed doing stuff together, but it was, as usual, about finding the balance in not overdoing activity and becoming overstimulated. This is a tricky one for Michael and me. Yesterday we crossed the line on over stimulation. At the end of the day, I realized I had scheduled too much for him. It’s hard for him these days as there is so much nervous energy, and I know if we under plan the day then there are fights due to boredom and under stimulation.
I sat back last night, and as usual when we have challenges in the later part of the day, thought of how can I best address this for the future? What can I learn and share with parents so we all can see when we are crossing the line of busy into over stimulation? Here are 6 ways parents can plan out a reasonable PED DAY:
- Structure the day reasonably according to your child’s temperament: A reasonable day for one child may be one place where the child stays for the day. Another child may need two places, in the am and one in the pm. Believe it or not, mine likes three to four places as he in constantly moving and learning, and having a change of environment. He can do two, one in the am, and one in the pm to break up his day, but they need to be VERY engaging. Go with your child’s flow.
- Make sure child (and you) are rested: Having a good night’s sleep for both of you is mandatory to being able to function at your best and have fun.
- Give them breaks between activities: This is where I went wrong yesterday. Even us veteran Exceptional parents make those mistakes. He went to a park and to run some errands in the am, but then had an hour lunch break to prepare for the afternoon. In the pm though, he went from one busy place to another. Next time, transition break.
- Make sure to limit sugar: On PED DAYS it’s not that it is junk food mayhem, but let’s face it, friends come over and Moms will put out the cookies and goodies, myself included. It’s important we make sure our kids don’t have too much sugar, juice, and anything that can add to the hyperactivity.
- Offer a reward system for good listening: We are still using tokens and they work for most of the time. There are lots of options available. You need to find what works for you.
- Give your child focused attention to talk about what is happening: It’s important on PED DAYS to also have some quiet talking time. Michael and I had a little bit at the beginning and end of the day, though I may have had less patience at the end of the day to see what the bedtime stalling was signalling; the stress of back to school the next day. Try to pace yourself better too to be able to handle the after dinner/homework/bedtime battles.
Exceptional Parents, what do you do on PED DAYS to keep your Exceptional Children busy? Are they in childcare, with other caregivers, or with you? There are lots of options available. The most important thing to remember is to structure their days so they feel excited, calm, and will have a fun and successful day. There will be ups and downs. Celebrate the ups and learn from the downs. Remember, look for signs of your child having fun and being over the top, and let them guide you in how you can make further adjustments. They are raising you as much as you are raising them! Until next time.
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