Category: hobbies

Summer Fun For Exceptional Families-Finding The Balance

As usual but in a different way, Michael had a difficult start to the summer and me with him. Every year there seems to be something that carries over. I also know that the break of routine with school is hard for him, as much as he likes to be home. He also likes to be busy. Anyone who knows Michael and our family, knows that we keep him busy. He is a curious, energetic and social kid. Staying home is not for him. Even with the emotional struggles he has been going through, I have noticed that, as always, there is his spirit of resilience. He is so hard on himself. He fears a lot. Yet he is one of the most fearless people I know. I tell him this. I tell him, “you are my hero. I admire your energy, your excitement about learning new things. And now, I’m not sure if it’s maturity, puberty, or something else, but he is more conscious of how he wants to self-regulate and control his emotions. He pretty much likes the same activities he liked as a child, but now has the patience to stay at them longer. It’s great, and especially on those days when your child is stressed, keeping them active can really help with regulation.

Here are my suggestions for fun inexpensive things to do with your exceptional tween over the summer:

  1. Swimming at local pool or splash pads: This is a must with our hotter and hotter summers. Michael now could spend a good two to two and a half hours or more frolicking at these places.
  2. Parks playing sports: Yes, he will still go on swings and slides, but does not like the little parks with no fields anymore. His main interest is playing soccer in the field, and possibly tennis and basketball in the courts with me or a friend.
  3. Library: He loves to read tween literature and fantasy to boot! He reads to me now, and when he stumbles over words, it’s a great time to bond while I explain it to him.
  4. Art: Painting, clay or any other means of self-expression is something a child this age can do to burn off steam
  5. Movies: Yes, once our kids are able to sit still calmly and focus, take them to matinees. It’s a great way to pass the afternoon.
  6. Structured activities: Most communities now have adapted sports activities for kids though some exceptional kids do fine with smaller teams. We always do soccer, and sometimes tennis over the summer. There are lots of options. See what interests your child.
  7. Camp: Even if it’s not for a long time, camp usually gives exceptional kids a different chance to be active, meet new faces, and grow. There are lots of options.

Exceptional Parents, how are you looking to keep your little ones busy? The most important thing to do is balance out unstructured time at home with a camp or structured activity. This usually means that kids get a balance and are happier over the summer when  a lot of their regular structure is gone. Here’s to good times ahead with your child. Until next time.

Replenishing Your Exceptional Batteries By Pursuing A Hobby

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I have been reading a great book lately given to me by a dear friend, “Simple Abundance-A Daybook of Comfort and Joy,” by Sarah Ban Breathnach. In it are wonderful morsels of information for all women on how to live a more balanced, mindful existence. This is all great in theory for so many, but how do we practice being more mindful in every day life in order to be more open to the people and the opportunities around us? It’s not easy, but like everything we are teaching our Exceptional Child, we pace ourselves one step at a time. Each day is a little nugget of information that offers wonderful tips on how women can connect to their inner selves by the simple acts of when they are cooking, gardening, and in the last few days, finding time for solitude and hobbies. Yeah right, you’re probably thinking now. I’ll have time for solitude and a hobby when the kids are grown up, the house is fixed up, and I don’t have to juggle work, cleaning a home and caring for family. We all say this. I said it many times. But it is possible to carve out time for you. It is also necessary for your vitality and survival.

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The last page I  read talks about making a list of things that fill you with passion and deciding on one from that list that you will practice as a hobby a week from the time you read that page. Wow. This is something that I have been itching to do, but have been making excuses. Why? Fear. But my new motto for the remainder of 2017 has been a great quote from Brene Brown, “Courage through vulnerability.” Another quote I have been saying to myself is “feel the fear and do it anyway.” You’ll be happy you did. You’ll be happy you carved out time for you. I see Michael drawing, painting, dabbling in making bracelets. I see how he doesn’t care if he is good or not. He is enjoying the process. As adults we have forgotten that. In trying to teach our children the basics, we forget about doing things for the pleasure and happiness it gives us, not just to do it right. Today Exceptional Moms and  Dads, we need to replenish our parenting batteries by finding some time to set aside for a hobby, anything that fills us with pleasure. It will make a huge difference in how we parent, he we feel and and how we live. If you are in the early stages of handling your child’s autism diagnosis, it is a very difficult and stressful stage. Some time doing a hobby like drawing, painting, writing a poem, or creating anything,  can be the breath of fresh air, even if you can only squeeze in a few minutes here or there. For parents later on in the journey as your child progresses, it is so important to maintain your individuality separate from your child so that they do not feel you are living for them and they for you. You are two separate beings who love each other, but have lives and interests outside each other.

Exceptional Parents, do you practice a hobby and spend time alone whenever you can? Remember, as hard as it is, it is vital for your spirit and overall health. The person that is fully charged, excited about life and living their life with passion in every way, is the best example for their Exceptional Child on how to live life fully and in the moment. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism 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.