As I come to a close on this fantastic month here in Hawaii, I woke up today thinking about some very specific differences with the children here and the children back home. I have found there to be pretty limited city and state resources for families, no money for providers, not alot of SEIT services, schools for Autism closing mid year….In comparison to NY it is a serious shame. What I do find were many parent/caregiver support groups that have mailing lists of up to 240 families. These groups were easy to find and each group leader I spoke with said they have about 40-50 family members showing up consistently.
What I also notice at the beaches, in the malls, on the bus, and everywhere in between are no crying children being dragged down the street or being screamed at in public. Yes, there were children having tempter tantrums, BUT the parents were NOT having tantrums. I know this might sound funny, but we all, myself included, have temper tantrums. No I don’t throw myself on the floor, everyones tantrums “look” different and I’ve learned to incorporate tools to “fix” what is frustrating me.
I can honestly say that in NYC I see a crying or hysterical child being yelled and pulled down the street by their parent almost every day. NYC is definitely a more stressed place, it’s huge, it can be a project to get around, it’s cold, and everyone is always moving fast, I am trying hard to not make this a “I dislike NYC” thing, I am not saying everyone pick up and move.
I know many parents that work hard “teaching” their children, they are using workbooks, reading to their children, buying educational toys etc. What parents should also remember as a number one fact is – Children learn more by watching – This means ALL children typical and special needs children feel what a parent does more then do what they say. The energy a parent creates in a home is the most important factor in creating a non-stressed environment. Tone of voice, to not only the child, but to other adults and family members, people spoken to on the phone etc. The speed at which laundry is done, the pace which dinner is prepared, the eye contact given when speaking with and giving directions to a child, the family meal. All these activities that go on on a daily basis in the home send messages. Often they are messages of stress.
What I am suggesting is a lifestyle change, it’s not an easy one, but there are easy ideas that you can start doing right now, in your home. They will benefit your child and surely benefit you! Choose one, add one on every week, hang up signs to remind yourself, do whatever fits your style to incorpeate stress relievers, your life and your child’s life depends on it.
- Ignore your call waiting, let people leave messages.
- Have a wake up and stretch morning
- Listen to music
- Breath through your nose count to four sec., release through your nose for 5 sec.
- Introduce a journal into your life, include three things for the day, one person you will forgive that day, one thing you forgive yourself for, and anything wonderful that happened.
- Schedule time for an Epsom salt bath
- Inhale lavender oil
- Rub your hands together, make them warm and cover your eyes gently.
- Gentle touch is a great healer, give your child a neck and shoulder massage, have them learn to give one back
- Hug a little bit longer
- Share mistakes and your true feelings about your day with your child.
- Sing a song that you make up as you go
- Books on CD/tape
Most of all remember to always take the high road, your child is watching…
Mahalo for reading!