The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted our priorities and given us new insight into how our society can function. However, the most significant problem is that this was done at breakneck speed, and families across the world are having difficulty adjusting. Especially for parents of children who need a lot of extra help, finding yourself isolated and juggling school, work, and parenting can be daunting and difficult.
While adjustment for many families will be difficult, autism parenting adds another set of variables that can be overwhelming. At Discover Camp Worth, our autism therapy programs offer tips to help you manage your stress and learn to parent in the new normal.
Plan Your Days
Children with autism want stability and routine even more than those without it, and the one thing the pandemic has done is to destroy our “normal.” Familiar patterns of waking, eating breakfast, and traveling to work and school are gone, for the most part. This can leave children with autism feel lost and cause them to lash out, feel too strongly, or get overwhelmed.
More than just for the wellbeing of your children, however, a routine is the best way to build up healthy habits for yourself. Many people are experiencing depression and anxiety because of COVID-19 and the mitigations imposed by local and federal governments; building up a healthy, daily routine can help alleviate some of that negative fallout.
Especially with learning being remote in much of the country, it can feel easy to allow everyone to roll out of bed when they want. However, this is not productive and will eventually lead to discord at best and conflict at worst. Maintain bedtimes, morning routines, and create at-home lunch and recess schedules, so your child feels stable again. As we said before, this will benefit you as well.
Encourage Your Children to Express Themselves
With limited interaction during the pandemic, it is more crucial than ever for your child to know they can talk to you. One of the best autism tips for parenting in the new normal is to ensure your child understands what’s going on by explaining it while doing something they love. If your child is partial to Legos or crafting, sit with them and calmly talk about what’s going on in the world without getting too scary or specific.
Limiting screen time can be a good way to avoid topics that cause worry, and giving them artistic outlets helps them express themselves non-verbally. Autism parenting can rely heavily on recognizing triggers and planning for a response, but simply communicating with your children more often and seeking help from an Autism parent training program can also help limit their anxiety or outbursts.
Give Yourself Space
If you have a spouse or partner, ensure that you have time to yourself by coordinating the care of your children and household tasks. “Self-care” is a term thrown around a lot, but it is vital to take care of your mind and body. Self-care could be:
- Getting a manicure or pedicure
- Taking classes
- Engage in an artistic pursuit
- Indulging in your favorite foods
For single parents of autistic children, establishing routines can help give you more space for downtime later. One of the best autism tips for stressed parents, however, is to set boundaries with friends and family members, so you don’t get overwhelmed. Do not let people guilt you for not being more available when you have to be a teacher, parent, housecleaner, and work from home. Self-care, especially when time is limited, can simply mean saying “no” more often.
Learn How Discover Camp Worth Can Help Your Child
For children with autism who experience high degrees of stress and frustration, autism treatment programs can be highly beneficial. Discover Camp Worth accepts male and female children who have been diagnosed with autism between ages 11-17. Our typical clients are high-functioning but have exhausted other resources to reduce frustration, anger, and anxiety.
We are staffed with medical and counseling services, and we teach life skills and coping mechanisms to children with autism. Residential programs like ours work to help parents and children learn better ways to handle daily stress and improve their overall confidence with their abilities across all facets of life. For families in Texas looking for help during the pandemic, Discover Camp Worth is here for you.