5 Ways to Survive the Winter Blues with your Special Needs Child
The holidays are over, and so is yours and your special needs child’s excitement about winter. You’ve done all the sledding, skating, and snowmen building you can stomach. Whether your child has special needs or not, they are probably feeling a little caged in by this time of year, at least on some days, though those of us with special needs kids know that the caged in feeling is usually only amplified by our children’s other cognitive and sensory issues. So, what is a special needs parent to do?
5 Ways to Survive the Winter Blues With Your Special Needs Child:
1) If you have the room, equip your basement with a trampoline, a swing, and a tunnel: Our basement has been the go-to place for my son when he needs to burn off steam and be physical, and it is too cold to go outside. We bought a small trampoline that fits in the corner as jumping is very beneficial for him; the big yoga ball is excellent for bouncing on; and we had a platform swing and a hammock swing specially installed so he can have the park feeling downstairs. One year we even brought in the outdoor slide when he was little. If space is an issue though, a small tunnel ball pit along with the exercise ball can give kids a lot of stimulation and can fit anywhere.
2) Have a movie marathon with the whole family: This is a good option if your child won’t get too overstimulated. I find that mine can sit through a 2-hour movie just fine as long as it is early enough in the day and he has time to run off his energy before bedtime.
3) Call up other parents and get together for family playdates at each other’s homes: This is a good one for weekends or PED DAYS. On weekends, you can do a light supper and have friends over with their kids. Sometimes that novelty will cheer us all up even if the weather is frigid.
4) Get creative with building forts, putting on a play, or games such as hide and seek: All kids like simple and fun games, and it’s the ones that don’t cost a lot that often entertain the most.
5) Meet friends at play centers: Yes, seeing friends requires going out, but that can be a good thing. And play centers usually have coffee and food for parents while the kids burn off their energy. If your child is sensitive to noise, invest in a good pair of headphones and take them everywhere. The headphones cost me $20.00 and are available at most adapted educational stores online. I also bring my son’s chewie and some sensory toys. Most of these places allow it, as long as your child can put it in their pocket.
In the end, the important thing is to stay calm, keep positive, and keep your kids as engaged as possible. Even special needs kids that have challenges like downtime where they can be creative in their own way. A mixture of structured activities and fun, creative games in the house will help those winter months pass in a blur.
© 2015, KidsOutAndAbout.com
Joanne Giacomini is a writer, editor and blogger of “Exceptional Mom/Exceptional Child” at www.exceptionalmomchild.wordpress.com, where she blogs about how her son with autism is raising her! She also blogs about parenting and autism at Huff Post Parents Canada, Wise Women Canada, and Mummies List. She has had her parenting articles and blogs published on The West Island Blog and Oh Baby Magazine, and offers writing, editing, and blogging services to businesses.