Category: back to school, routine

How To Help Your Exceptional Child Cope With New School Year Jitters

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Tomorrow is the the first day of school for Michael. Like every other year, he is nervous. It doesn’t matter that he knows his teacher’s name, the room number, knows some of the friends in the class, as well as the fact that he has been going to this school since he was little. The first day of school is like the first day of anything for Michael, hard and a little terrifying and it takes some getting used to it before he sails through it like the champion he is!

When he was little there was crying and anxiety type behaviors like hiding behind me the morning of school waiting for the bus. Now that he is older there is talk of not wanting to go to school, being nervous, and acting out with silly behaviors, outrageous and below age level.  Way below. He seems to settle back into twelve year old status though when he gets it out of his system, but the anxiety response starts things off. It is easier now that we can talk things through and I can reason with him reminding him how he tackled last year’s stress and came out a winner. He believes me, but the nerves are there. Still, we are making progress.

We saw Michael’s Educator today and she had lots of great things to say about Michael’s progress. As usual, she also gave us tools to use as a family and for Michael to use. We talked about the ups and downs of summer, and it was great to see Michael doing most of the talking to her. He is learning how to express himself more and more, and I am taking a backseat. I hear how he is starting to understand himself, and the next step will be learning how to advocate for himself not using his challenges as an excuse, but as a way that he views life differently and needs to understand how others see things differently too. I was proud of him as I have been a lot lately, the young man he is becoming, the child struggling to learn new ways of coping, and the human being that wants to be understood, be loved and understand what is happening around him.

Advice I can give to all parents with exceptional kids starting back at school is this; Love them. Listen to them. Prepare for changes in advance. Be ready for last minute meltdowns which may look like silliness, aggression or unpredictable behavior. These are all signs of a child struggling to put together change and what that means. It is up to us, the adults, the caregivers, to offer calm, predictable advice, not overwhelm them, and make sure they are ready to face things one step at a time.  They and you will survive. 😉 Until next time.

 

 

 

 

 

Back To School- How To Handle Your Exceptional Child’s Fears And Questions

So for us tomorrow is back to school. As usual, Michael is nervous and does not want to go back. This is in sharp contrast to three years ago when he was excited to go back to school. Now, as he says, I don’t like school as I have to work before I play. Before, I played all the time. Still, I know him. Once he gets into the routine of the day, sees the friends who have followed him from previous years into his new class, as well as make new friends, he will enjoy school and many of the subjects he does like- music, art, science and gym.

I am excited, because as most parents agree, our kids need the structure of school. Two months at home is a break for the adults and some kids who are exceptional, but most after about a month need the return of routine and a semblance of work, play and socializing. Unless parents are able to home school and have time to book play dates for their child, this is challenging to say the least . I have seen Michael flourish and grow at school. He has learned many new things. He has made new friends. He has also encountered obstacles which he has learned to solve and troubleshoot. I will be so excited to hear him share his first day of school with her tomorrow.

Sometimes though, the first day of school does not always go so smoothly. How could parents help their child threw it and handle their fears and questions?

  1. Let your child talk: This is important, whether verbally or not. Let them tell you what they fear. They will know they are not alone.
  2. Make sure they sleep well the night before: A good night’s rest can do wonders to handling stress. As much as possible, make sure they sleep well before school.
  3. Remind them how everyone is afraid: If they are scared to go back, remind them that all kids have the same fears. No one is really alone.
  4. Tell them you can’t wait to hear all about their day: Once kids know they have an audience, they will be very excited to share news with you.  Also, have a special first day back to school routine in place.
  5. Remind them that you have their back:  Lastly, remind them that no matter what, you are at the top off their team making sure teachers and everyone understands them.

Exceptional Parents, how do you your children react when it is time to go back to school? Remember, always be encouraging, positive, and tell them to take things one step at a time. If they sense they have you in their pocket, anything is possible. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  and Type 1 Diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

Happy New Year and Things I Learned NOT To Do In 2018

Happy New Year Exceptional Families! I hope your holidays were happy, healthy, safe and joyful, at least to some degree. In Exceptional Families we often have so many ups and downs, it is hard to know where one ends and one begins. Our holiday, much like last year, was filled with many ups and downs. Once Dad and I sat back and evaluated things though, we did what all parents in our situation do. We looked back, learned from what we did wrong, and looked at what we did right. First things first, I preached so much about self-care to others, but did not practice much of it before the holidays began. I was tired on Christmas morning due to the usual end of school/vacation anxiety Michael exhibits along with holiday hyperactivity combined with the mental health issues Michael is grappling with. Whew! Then I wondered why I had a good long cry on Christmas Eve after Michael finally fell asleep way after 10:00 pm and was wiped on Christmas night when our long day began at 5:00 and ended at 10:00 pm. I was so tired I was barely seeing straight. Dad was too. And we knew Michael would be up early, would be out of routine, so next year we know how important resting up for the holidays will be for us.

On the positive side, Michael had many good moments at both sides of the family’s homes. It was far from perfect, but I look back and see that in spite of his clear anxiety, difficulty controlling emotions and organizing himself, underneath all the acronyms that may soon join autism is the sweet little boy that I love. On December 26th and 27th we sledded before the deep freeze. We enjoyed celebrating his birthday and he used some money and gift cards he received from family to buy board games. I saw his intelligence when he played with me and was reminded of his amazing navigation skills when we drove around the neighborhood together over last week and the week before. Then there were the play dates with friends where he did so well. He said and did many kind things over the break, told me he misses cooking and baking with me (we did a bit before the holidays began), and asked “Mommy, why are you so grumpy in the morning?”  I had been unintentionally waking up every morning after Christmas in fear on pins and needles thinking what is he going to do next? How will I handle his verbal aggression, threats towards us, his screaming, any of his new behaviors? It was like living with a time bomb. That is when I realized that if I stayed calm it would help us all. I began to finally practice self-care. I prioritized long baths in the early evening, went to a Hamamm with a friend, and went back to daily yoga and meditation. My head started to clear. I started to see my own anger and feelings of fear as legitimate and started healing me so I could help Michael get calm and heal. Dad and I even squeezed in a date night and had many conversations about him practicing better self-care and how he would be better equipped to handle Michael’s outbursts if he remembered as terrible as they are, they are a cry for help.

That’s it people. When our kids are not well-physically, psychologically and spiritually they lash out. They lash out at those they love most. They say the most horrible things if they are not well. Kids with exceptional brains are wired differently. They don’t read emotional cues the same way. They don’t process body language the same way. They have delays and it is reflected in how they handle anger. I know this , yet as a Mom I get emotionally hurt when Michael says terrible things. I am learning though, and am here to remind all of you, that you can’t take what your kids say to heart. They are not themselves when they are saying awful things. That is where support for the family comes in through parents coaches, psychologists, and other health care professionals that can give the whole family what they need to get through the rough patches, structure a healthier home routine for all, and move forward in a positive way together. Our family is doing this. 2018 will be our year to do better individually so that as a family we can thrive.

So what were the things I learned NOT to do in 2018? Here is a list of 5:

  1. Neglect my own spirit: Never abandon things that keep you whole physically, emotionally and spiritually. They are the glue that will hold you together in tough times. For me it’s meditation, yoga, reading and writing. For you it may be something different.
  2. Not call family, friends or go out : Call up friends, therapists, family. You need to remember you are not alone when you feel like you most are.
  3. Think that one mistake means I have failed as a Mom: As a parent you will fail with your child many times. It is not the end. It is the beginning of learning so you become stronger and better. Now I try and remember when I mess up, now I know better for next time.
  4. Don’t look into respite or update list of babysitters: You must have an outlet and a safe person and place for your child to go and you to recharge. Look into respite and babysitters who can help you and your child take a family break and come back stronger.
  5. Believe that hard times mean I am not the right person to raise my son: Yes, those thoughts passed through my mind in some of the more challenging moments of 2017. That is when I realized how tired I am as a parent and human being and how I needed to do things to have hope again. I created a Vision Board all around two words-happiness and abundance. Hope is what many people saw from it.

 

Exceptional Parents, what did you learn not to do in 2018? What are some of the things you did right? Remember, we are always learning. That is what life is about. The important thing is to move forward and remember at the base of all the pain and struggle is love for your child. Happiness will be yours and theirs if you forge ahead learning from the past and making positive strides in the future. Until next time.

 

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

 

 

 

7 Ways to Handle Exceptional Anger-Yours and Your Child’s

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In every parent/child relationship there will be moments of anger, frustration and loss of control. I know this all too well. Put a little bit of pressure with school being back on, add in poor coping mechanisms with stress, and stir in some unexpected life circumstances, and anger can quickly escalate, both yours and your child’s. How can we as parents set a good example for our exceptional kids? First of all, it’s important that as parents we look to what methods we are using to reign in our anger and frustration. If we don’t have good coping mechanisms, we won’t be able to show our children how to handle their frustrations. And sometimes even if we do handle anger well ourselves, until our kids find what works for them they will struggle with handling their inner emotions.

What works for most people? It’s basically a combination of common sense techniques along with what fits their particular personality type and how their body metabolizes stress. Here are 7 ways to handle Exceptional Family Anger:

  1.  Counting up or down from 10 or more: Counting has a calming and distracting effect on the brain. This is a good way to help our body and brain handle stress in a productive way.
  2. Walking: Walking inside or outside can calm the brain. By being in motion it gives the body something to do and stretches those muscles that are feeling so stressed.
  3. Have a sheet of tips that work for you: This is especially helpful for your Exceptional Child to have a list of strategies, but even for Mom or Dad, having their strategies written on a cue card which can be taken everywhere can help avoid that memory blank that occurs when we forget what to do.
  4. Talk about your feelings: This again works for all ages. Knowing that you have someone compassionate to vent and unload on, will make a big difference in how you handle anger and the stress it produces.
  5. Deep breathing, yoga or meditation: There are lots of short guided meditations for adults that can really help with stress relief. There are great yoga and meditation mantras that can help kids handle stress better too. If the family can do it together, that’s even better!
  6. Cool/Calm down corners for all: It’s great if when Mom and Dad get upset, they model that they go calm/cool down in a room, corner or somewhere not too far away. If they cannot physically leave child, the cool/calm down corner can be in one’s head. A parent can picture a relaxing scene where they could retreat to and teach their child to do the same.
  7. Seek help to handle our emotions: There is never any shame to seek help to learn to handle our feelings, no matter what age we are. We should never be afraid to talk to our children about how handling anger properly can be a family affair. Sometimes attending therapy together is necessary, other times individually then applying what the therapist says is best suited for us and for our child to do.

Exceptional Parents, how do you handle your anger? How does your Exceptional Child handle their anger? Are you using techniques that truly work for your character or that of your child’s? There are many different techniques that work for different people. The trick is knowing your personality and which one is the right fit for you, just as you will get to know which fit is right for your child. Until next time.

 

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism and Type 1 Diabetes has shown me a whole new way to see the world and embrace the joy of the moment! I believe in empowering parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their children, and in helping them parent with love, respect and confidence towards their child.

For more information on my coaching services, see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparentingg.com, and for a free 30 minute exploration/consultation session contact me at joanne@creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Also to receive a copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” click on www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS.

 

Surviving Back To School In Your Exceptional Family

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So here we are. Another school year beginning, or in our case, having already begun. The first few days are always a mix of a lot of different things, both positive and negative. Some of our exceptional kids are so happy to be back to structure and seeing their friends, that it does not really sink in that soon work and homework will be following close behind. Others are upset immediately about the change in routine and it is pure chaos for parents. Still, then there are the kids that fall somewhere in the middle of all of this. Michael is probably in that category primarily, but right now thankfully, he is still in camp 1. He is slowly transitioning to camp 2 though, if this morning was anything to go on. Yes, this morning on our day 3 of school came the questions about when work and homework would start, as well as the anxiety that surrounded it.  What I have learned over the last year, particularly with our challenging home behaviors last year, is that when Michael is feeling stressed, it is hard for him to self-regulate. He will raise his voice, swear, scream and as a last resort, push or hit. The last part thankfully, has not been happening, though I see it is slowly trying to emerge. Instead, this year armed with good self-regulation techniques from last year, a reward for using his cooldown room, and moving towards building a consistent after school and evening schedule, I know we are on the right track.

But what can parents do if they do not know where to start with their child’s anxiety and how to structure the new school year? Well, first it starts with the family sitting down, taking a long, deep breath and gathering information to share with their child’s new team as soon as possible. Here are some points to get your exceptional child off on the right track this school year:

  1. Prepare Your Child By Counting Down The Days To School Starting: This is an easy one. On a calendar or dry erase board, count down till school starts.
  2. Drive By School/Take Pictures: Make Sure Forward To At End Of First Day: Whether your child is excited or not, have something for them to look forward to at the end of their first day.
  3. Prepare Information About Your Child For Teacher: Now, this does not mean to give him/her your child’s life story on the first day of school, but let them know what they are like. Have a little package of therapy reports, assessments ready. But mainly, write up a little paragraph on who your child really is. Tell them in person too when you have a chance to meet with them one on one.
  4. Be Ready For Tantrums and Meltdowns During First Month: Be ready for the honeymoon period with school to end when the challenges of learning begin.
  5. Make Sure You Practice Self-Care Before and During Back To School: Make sure that you have your own self-care strategies to handle your own emotions and to regulate properly. You and your family need you to be at your best at this high stress time.

Exceptional Parents, what techniques have been successful for you and your family during back to school? What hasn’t worked? Remember, as your child grows up, they change and they may need different interventions. Should a basic back to school schedule not be enough, don’t be afraid to reach out for outside help for you and your child. Your child’s team at school is the best prepared in most cases to help, but reach out in your community too for therapists and coaches to help you set up a good schedule for home and back to school. Remember, you and your child are not alone and give the whole family a month to adjust to the new back to school schedule. Until next time.

How To Handle End of School Year Anxiety- Yours and Your Child’s

Over the years end of school anxiety has gotten better. I am lucky that Michael understands what is happening, what he has control over and what he does not. He will always be a kid who worries about which class he is, which teacher he will get, and yes, he will worry about summer camp, even if he is returning to the same one from the previous year. This is not the case this year, but it is all good. Still though, even with this advantage, it is still difficult. Combine that with hot weather usually, and as a parent you have a child who is wired, stressed and hyper. The only good thing about the cool rainy weather is that Michael and I don’t have to contend with that element this year, but the other ones are in place. So what’s a parent and child to do to handle this time of the year gracefully without too many screaming fests? Here are some tips I have picked up over the years:

  1. Make a schedule of the summer ahead of time: Yep, once again write it all down, print it on computer, put it on a tablet or draw/laminate it. You know what works best for your child. And even if they fight you on it, (been there, done that, am currently renegotiating that) say it is for you as well an do it. This removes A LOT of the stress.
  2. Look at the positives: Help your child see the positives at this time of the year: playing outside when weather is nice, field trips, end of school parties/bbq’s etc.
  3. Have a reward system set up: This is good if there are lots of behaviors. If they have something positive to earn by end of the day, it will change their mindset.
  4. Talk or don’t talk: Some kids feel better talking about their stress. For others, this only feeds it. Find out where your child fits on this continuum and do the one that will put their fears at ease. Set aside a time each day to talk without interruption. For those that get overstimulated and anxious with too much talking, set a time limit and boundaries. We will decide that on this day. I will give you an answer etc.
  5. Lots of physical activity and movement: Have them move around a lot doing sports, going to a park, jumping on a trampoline. This will let them handle a lot of the anxiety that comes with pent up energy.

Exceptional Parents, what are some of your words of wisdom for dealing with your child’s end of year anxiety? Remember, for everyone the techniques may be slightly different and need to be tailored to your unique child. Also, don’t despair if they do not work right away. Any new system (behavior or reward) takes time to take effect and for the house to get used to doing things a certain way. Have patience, take care of you, give your child a chance to adjust and together you can both face the summer with optimism. Until next time.

How To Change Negative Forecasting With Positive Thoughts-Challenges for Exceptional Parents

Ah yes. When our child is feeling negative and worried, they tend to have negative thoughts about the present and the future. These thoughts would be along the lines of things not working out, such as things at school, with friends, with family etc. I have these kinds of situations with Michael, especially during times of transition like Spring Break to home and back again, or else summer vacation and back again etc. It is hard to keep my own attitude positive sometimes when Michael is so worried about things and will stress, worry and whine. But, I am beginning to see how important it is to do this. You see, when a parent is able to “turn it around” and be positive in spite of a negative day, hour or week, it will make all the difference in what you are trying to teach your child to do, which is be positive, overcome obstacles, and make the best of a situation.

Michael and I have had a tough week so far. With the hour change, I expected as much. I knew he would have a hard time as well as me. But, what I did not consider was how hard it would be for both of us to control our emotions. There were times in the last two days that I was as frustrated as Michael which made the stressful moments worse. So, what did I learn? I learned to try and take some time to step away from the stress and de-stress while modeling positive relaxation techniques to Michael. I also learned to admit when I was feeling tired, fed up, and needed down time so I would set a good example for my child. Finally, I learned that automatically assuming things would not work out for the day, evening or day and evening is not a good strategy for either parent or child. As the adult, we need to show the child to believe in themselves and how they could turn around their bad behavior so that things could start going well.

Exceptional Parents, how many times have you had moments when you  said to yourself, my child is not doing well today and it is a write off? How many times have you gotten angry because of this and told your child negative things? We all have bad moments. Don’t ever write anyone of, yourself or your child. Learn from your mistakes, and have the courage to move forward. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism is opening my eyes up to living life in a whole and balanced way. I am passionate about helping other parents of exceptional children thrive as individuals and in their relationships with their children. For more information on my coaching packages, or for a free 30 min consultation session, contact me at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com

 

 

 

 

My Exceptional Son’s Joy and Rediscovery in Listening At Home

 

I don’t know how long this will last nor will I question it. I am just glad that Michael  is connecting listening to us and having good things happen to him again. Yes, before he would listen temporarily in order to get his tokens for audio visual or other things, but now I sense a real change in him. He is listening for distant rewards, like a McDonald’s Happy Meal in February to get another Sing figurine ,and long term listening to get a much coveted surprise over Spring Break almost a month and a half away. I worry about his continual “collecting of toys” and not wanting to play with them, but he also understands that he needs to work on doing chores to get his toys. He also is exploring interests other than navigating like video games and looking online on how to cook certain foods.

“The only reason I am sweeping the floor and helping in the house Mommy is to get my money and buy my toys.” He had the hysterical audacity to tell me the other day.

“Well, I am paying you to do this, but you are also learning about hard work Michael. We all need to pitch in to keep the house clean.”

“Because you and Daddy work?

“That’s right.”

I am proud at how he is drawing those comparisons and not afraid to work hard. He is also understanding more and more that when I need to work I can’t be disturbed in the late afternoons. Eventually, he will need an after-school program again some if not most days, but so far he is starting to adjust to changes in his routine, like staying home after school as Mom has to work longer hours. There has been less fighting, hitting and aggression. He will often say, “I am mad but I am not going to hit you Mommy.” I commend him for taking the higher road and encourage him to find healthy outlets for his anger. When he has caught me say the occasional swear word, it has been so funny to hear him correct me to use better language. It is wonderful to see him growing and the silly and negative behavior disappearing. I see how desperately he needs structure, guidelines and releases for sensory tensions. It is a work in progress, but we are getting there.

I also think what is working is Dad and I have finally found the formula of praise and showing him a good example to follow. He is beginning to see how when he listens, we pay attention and the good that comes of it. Being so busy, Dad and I forgot to touch base with him on that. It is important as a parent to cheer when your child succeeds. I also have started telling him, at least once a day if not multiple times, how much I love him. It is important for him to hear and me to say. He knows he is special to us as we are to him. There are times I don’t like how he is behaving, but I love him as a person.

Exceptional Parents, how good are your Exceptional Children at listening to you? When do you notice they challenge you most or least? What has worked for you? We have all made mistakes. That’s ok. We can learn from them, teach our kids and ourselves better, and be gentle with our words, our manners, and our language. Children will gravitate to that in a heartbeat and parents will often see a decrease in behaviors. Until next time.

Are you looking to make changes in your special needs parenting life? Do you need support on your journey?  I am a writer and parent coach who is passionate about empowering parents to trust their own instinct when raising their exceptional children with autism, and remembering that parenthood is as much a journey for us as childhood is for our children. For more information on my parent coaching programs, and to book a FREE 30 Minute Consultation Session, see my website: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Special Offer: If you refer a friend and they sign up for one of my six month programs, you will receive 50% off of two individual coaching sessions with me.

Looking to make a fresh start in 2017 with the way you handle anxiety in your special needs family? Download my FREE EBOOK: “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS

 

Victories and Gains-How My Exceptional Child Is Learning To Regulate

 

I was so proud of Michael at the store once again today. He now understands how money works and knows how to count his money as well as how much things cost, for the most part. He had some very generous friends give him money for his birthday to buy what he wanted. He has been taking advantage of this in pure Michael excitement. With autism, when someone is into something, they are into it. Now he is into going to the store and proudly buying things with his own money. He has even learned how to converse with the cashier. Today he remembered to say Happy New Year to the cashier at the Dollarstore we went to. He needed to buy new bath toys. Yes, he loves baths. We recently had our bathroom renovated and he so excited to start taking baths again so that has become his other thing. He always liked baths, but had to start taking showers when our only tub started leaking a while ago. He will repeatedly tell me how baths relax him. I know. They do the same for me.

I love how he is learning to find his own in the world, and even when things worry him, like the first day of school back from Christmas holiday, he compensates by getting up early to give himself time to play, get ready calmly, prepare his toys and his mind for change. He plans on doing the same thing today. We’ll see. I tell him that he needs to find strategies that work for him and go from there. I also remind him though, that eventually he will be tired and have to catch up on his sleep. When that happens he can get up his usual seven am instead of five thirty. The important thing is that he is recognizing where he has control, what he can control, and learning how good behavior produces good results. He told me today, “Mommy I am really trying to listen. Sometimes I forget and I feel bad.” I answered him back that he is doing well and I am very proud of him. I know he is capable of listening all the time. And if he makes a mistake, he can apologize and start again. As with any child he is not perfect, but is doing the best that he can. So am I.

Exceptional Parents, what victories and gains do you notice in your Exceptional Children? Sometimes after many falls you may notice a few gains. The reverse happens too. That is ok. Just be patient with them.  Be firm. Be steady. Be loving. And remember, sometimes in their struggle if we leave them alone, they will figure it out and find their own strategies to manage stress and anxiety. As long as they have love, they can get through anything. Until next time.

 

Are you looking to make changes in your special needs parenting life? Do you need support on your journey?  I am a writer and parent coach who is passionate about empowering parents to trust their own instinct when raising their exceptional children with autism. Remember,  parenthood is as much a journey for us as childhood is for our children! For more information on my parent coaching programs, and to book a FREE 30 Minute Consultation, see my website: http://www.exceptionalparentnet.wordpress.com

 Do you need new strategies to cope with anxiety? Are you looking to make a fresh start this year? Contact me at joanne.giacomini@gmail.com to downloand my FREE EBOOK:  “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” 

 

 

 

 

How To Get Back Into Routine With Your Exceptional Child

Well, for most of us today is the day kids are back in school and some parents are back at work. It is a happy day for some, not for others. You know your ages. 🙂 But all jokes aside, it is a struggle for a lot of families to get back into routine. All people, with and without children have a hard time getting back into the swing of things after vacation, but with kids you have the extra thing of getting them organized and ready for school. We all know what does not work for us or our kids, but what are some of the true and tested things that do work? This is tricky. With Exceptional Children, a lot of the traditional stuff the rest of us use may not work or even make things worse. In our house we’ve used a combination of a few things, and every year Michael tries different strategies himself, good and bad, in preparation for the first day back.

  1. Get a good night’s sleep the night before: This is a no-brainer for all us, but something many forget. If you are tired the first day back, things will be harder. The best scenario is to make sure your child and you get a good night’s rest. If that can’t be managed, if parents are rested at least they will have more patience to help their child.
  2. Remind your child about seeing his/her friends if that is incentive or some other thing they like at school: For some Exceptional Children, seeing their friends is great incentive, especially if they have not had a chance to see them over the holidays. For others, maybe they like the bus ride or some other subject at school or recess.
  3. All kids are feeling the same as them: This is a tricky one due to theory of mind, but I’ve found as Michael has gotten older he will appreciate hearing how he is not alone in stress about “back to school.”
  4. Remind them of future PED DAYS/Spring Break or give immediate rewards for a good first day back: Again, teaching them to look forward to something works too if they are able to understand this concept. For those who can’t do this yet, the promise of a favorite activity, treat, or other special reward can go a long way to helping motivation and a positive attitude.
  5. Give them (and yourself) time to adjust: The first week back for everyone will have its challenges. Go in knowing that. Try to keep your sense of humor as a parent. Give yourself little rewards at the the end of the day for making it through- a bath, reading a chapter from a favorite book, watching a favorite show etc.

Exceptional Parents, what are some tried and true methods that have worked to make back to school work for you and your family? Remember, as long as rest, patience and love are involved in some form you can’t go wrong. You will find the right formula and adjust it to your family and household. Go easy on yourself too when you make mistakes. You are only human after all. Happy first week back! Until next time.