It is a tough job being parents of autistic children and sometimes it can be hard to just let your child be a kid. It is easy to get wrapped up in everything to do with your child’s treatment that you can sometimes forget to let them have some fun. It is natural for a parent to just want to keep their child safe and with a special needs child a parent will become very protective.
You may be spending a great deal of your time at doctors or therapist appointments and not too much time just doing the things that kids do. So even though it is very important for you to keep your child safe and give them the best treatment you can, it is also important to allow time for them to do ‘kid stuff’.
Here are a few ideas of how to let your Autistic child just be a kid:
1. Everyone needs a break from daily routines sometimes and particularly for kids that spend a lot of time at doctors or doing therapy so make sure to put some time aside each day to let your child just do whatever they want to do. Most children will have favourite toys or activities that they like and it is important for your child to spend time doing their favourite things.
2. If there is something outside of the home that your child likes to do then try to plan the activity perhaps once a week. It could be something as simple as a trip to the beach or the park or even to visit grandparents. You can vary the activities each week and let your child pick the activity.
3. It is normal for children to run around and play in dirt, sand, mud and whatever else drives parents mad. This is good healthy fun and there is no reason why autistic children can’t join in with these activities also. Let them run and play just like other kids and in the long term this will help them to learn how to interact with other children.
4. Don’t hold your child back from anything because of their disorder. Don’t use their disorder as an excuse for them not being able to participate in things. If your child is happy to have a go at something then let them have a go. Many autistic people live reasonably normal lives and with the correct treatments and strategies in place you can help your child to live as normal a life as possible. Help to build their self esteem and teach them that they can do anything that they choose to do.
5. Do not let your child’s disorder be an excuse for bad behavior. Just as with any child an autistic child also needs boundaries and consequences for their behavior. You will only do your child more harm in the long term if you just let them get away with everything they do just because they are autistic. If you do this they will learn very quickly that they can do things and use their disorder as an excuse.
6. It is good for all children to have chores around the house and this includes your autistic child. As long as they are chores that the child is quite capable of doing then you will actually help to build up their self esteem as they can gain a sense of pride in completing their chores. A reward system can work well for doing chores and making them fun will encourage your child to make a habit of doing their chores.
7. Always encourage your child to do their best and do not just assume that they won’t be able to achieve things that normal children achieve. Give them lots of praise when they try new things and encourage them to reach their full potential.
Autistic children may have a disorder but they are still children and they need to live like any other kid. They need to run around, get dirty and they will even get hurt sometimes but that is all a part of growing up. So sometimes it is important just to let your autistic child just be a kid.