So we survived another Halloween at our house. Michael had a blast at school and did relatively well at home with Dad and I. Still, there were instances of not listening, being impulsive, hyperactive and fights and tears that we thought we were past now. It occurred to me tonight when it was all over though, that we needed to structure how these special days unfolded, especially now that we have diabetes to contend with. A little routine with expectations on paper as well as going over rules in advance is something that Dad and I will opt for next year so that things are more clear. Michael knows what to do, but gets muddled when he is overstimulated. We also are harried and stressed in anticipation of the evening. And this year, I was both excited for and dreading Halloween due to his new diabetes diagnosis. It has changed our previous life completely. Things like carb counting, sugar levels and such are now part of our daily vocabulary. Before, it would just be “don’t eat too much chocolate. It’s not good for you.” I know every holiday, especially for this first year, will be like this for me. But I do not let Michael know I am nervous on the inside. I am also learning how to take it in stride. We are all adjusting to two diagnoses, and possibly three as ADHD is again being raised as a third condition. We will see.
What I learned tonight is that Michael is doing the best that he can with what he has got. I also learned that Michael really needs boundaries, a schedule and scripts for much of what plays out on special nights. When things are not clear he tries to overcompensate by taking over as his anxiety goes sky high. I am finally seeing just how to nip this in the bud for future holidays and help him learn how to regulate and find his own solutions. He enjoyed trick or treating with his friend, and in the end it all worked out.
Exceptional Parents, how do you handle over stimulation with your kids? What are your tricks of the trade? The important thing is to go with your child’s flow and personality. See what works to help them understand how things are going to unfold. Also, it is imperative to have an exit plan if the child cannot handle the environment anymore. Parents have to follow up with what they say. Your child will learn to respect you and themselves if they have these boundaries. 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 living in 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 on their own exceptional parenting journey.
For more information on my coaching services, for a FREE 30 min consultation, and to receive a copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY,” see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.
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.
Tired of anxiety controlling you and your child? Download my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.exceptionalparenting.net/EBOOKS