This is a tough week for most people, even as we gain an hour of sleep. It is usually especially challenging for a lot of children, those who are and are not exceptional or have special needs. Exceptional Children’s various anxieties and sensory issues are just exacerbated during a week of the body adjusting to a new time schedule. Moms and Dads are not that far behind. For me this year, it is a little different than in other years. I am energetic at night (before I was not so), but fighting tiredness more in the morning. Thank goodness for coffee!
With Michael it is different too this year. In the past, during the week of the two time changes, there were spectacular meltdowns and tantrums, lots of tears and anger. This year it is not the case. Instead, I am seeing more of a stubborn or determined streak in Michael carrying on from the issues he has been having for the last couple of months. He is seeing how far he can go with me, how silly or rude he can be if he does not get his way, then begging me not to leave as he is pushing me away. Sigh. I know. It is him growing up-the pushing and pulling to assert himself, and see where he begin and I end. His testing of authority is particularly tough this week, as I see he is struggling a bit with tiredness in the daytime too. He is mastering it well. He also lost one baby tooth last week, and another is barely hanging on. This is not helping matters.
Whatever the case of our child’s temperament, how can we handle surviving this time change week? Here are 5 things that are working for me:
- Ask for your space: I had two fights with Michael this morning and yesterday regarding listening to me. After it was finished and he apologized, I apologized as well for yelling, and told him I needed a few minutes alone to calm down again. He went to get changed for school, and those five minutes apart did wonders.
- Keep your child’s routine similar: Even if they are not tired at the usual time, still do their routine. They know as do their bodies when it is bed time, and will slowly start to adjust to the new time.
- Keep them active: I took my son to the park yesterday even though it was getting dark. When they have a chance to run and move, that will help with anxiety and tire them out for an earlier bed time. It’s raining? Try a gym or fun center setting if they are not in after school care or day care.
- Offer massages: My two favorites for kids with sensory issues, (provided parents have been trained by an OT and Qigong Sensory Therapist), are Wilbargher Protocol and Qigong Sensory Massage Therapy. But what if you aren’t trained, or your child refuses these massages as my little guy now is doing? Try just rubbing or tapping gently on their back. This tapping or patting movement can calm the nervous system. My son asked me to drum gently on his back, and wow, did he ever come down from his hyper place. Always be gentle, and always follow your child’s cues of when to stop.
- Try to get enough sleep yourself: When you as a parent are getting at least seven hours of sleep a night, it makes a huge difference in helping you handle emotional challenges from your child and even from yourself. Even if you can’t sleep, try deep breathing, night meditating, or reading a book before bed.
Exceptional Parents, what tips do you have for surviving the first week of the time change intact? I’d love to hear from you. As with everything else, remember, trust your parenting gut. You know yourself and your child well. Until next time.
How are you and your special needs family handling the hour change and shorter days? If you are challenged by this, download my FREE EBOOK: “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.exceptionalparenting.net/EBOOKS