Here you can find parenting and advocacy entries, these topics are useful to anyone with children ages 2-21. After 20 years plus of counseling kids and advocating for children with special needs, I have decided to share my knowledge in a public forum. I hope you enjoy.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
7 Tips for the Summer With Special Needs Children
Summer is coming like a freight train and those with special needs kids are dreading it. Don't feel ashamed to admit it, the summer months are difficult. The house is a constant wreck, kids are cranky, routines are gone and now we have the big baby sitter coming over--VIDEO GAMES. I have seven tips that may save the day- however they will be tough to put in motion.
1. No shooting video games of any kind. These games make kids nuts, you might as well feed them crack and barbiturates in the morning, I believe it is less addictive. I have noticed in my practice and also at home, anytime kids play shooting games they get weird- often even mean. It puts them in a state they are not able to cope effectively. Say what you want, these games are not healthy -- I have seen the effects.
2. All chores, reading, everything must be done before any video games can begin. I call this kid credit -- it is worse than any ones credit score. How many times have we heard - “mom I will pick up my room after this game,” yea right. The child might have the best of intentions (or maybe not), however the work rarely gets done, and if they do it you can count on it being a sloppy job! Don't take kid credit.
3. Have a routine for everyday! This will help your child know what is going on and keep them from asking you the same questions everyday -- well, they may ask, but at least you can say look at the schedule and it is the same as yesterday.
4. Have a finite time for any activities, do not let the same activity extend for ever and ever, this is especially important for video games. Keep the schedule moving, other wise they will burn out on their favorite games- toys.
5. No video games in their room -- this is a place to sleep -- don't confuse the two -- no TV in their room either!
6. OK - I know this is going to hurt, however I gotta say it, no more than an hour of video game time a day. Your child needs to be active and mover a much as possible -- staring at the computer playing games is not healthy. I know that the kid is quiet and not being a pain when playing, however if you let your kid do this all summer, the price you pay will be later -- as in sleep patterns will be way off.
7. No caffeine -- duh energy drinks etc -- it stays in your system for up to 10 hours -- it also makes kids aggressive. It interacts negatively with medications too.
Sleep is almost as important as food and water. Have a consistent bed time and wake time. The weekends are not any different. If your kid stays up late on Friday night, then wants to sleep in, guess what, you have just flown to Hawaii and back. You wonder why your child is sluggish and cranky, he has a form of jet lag. Be consistent. I know these things are hard to follow- but your life will be easier in the long run!