Beautiful Minds Blog

Halloween 2020: A New Way To Celebrate

Halloween is an exciting night and creates lasting childhood memories for both kids and parents. This year, instead of spending your hallows eve trick-or-treating, we’ve come up with a few “at home” activities that can keep your kids in spooktacular spirits!

 Here are some strategies that will help prepare your child on the spectrum for a night of ghouls, goblins, critters and candy at home. 

  1. Get your family together around the table for some scary stories. Incorporate sensory play with things like jello, cooked spaghetti worms, gummies in the shape of eyeballs or finger etc. and either read a classic Halloween story or create one on your own. 
  2. Create a candy or treat scavenger hunt through out the house and give clues or create riddles to keep your kids on their toes.
  3. Invite some of your quaranteam over for a surprise candy exchange. Five each kid a bag of candy that another kid would love and let them    trade for their favorites.
  4. So a costume creation costume at home and judge to see whose costume is lost creative. Don’t forget to take pictures to share with family and friends. 

With a little creative rearranging this Halloween can be just as fun and exciting as any other. 

How to Cope with Difficult Situations

Stress is a part of life even for everyone, not just children on the spectrum, but for a child who has autism or other behavioral needs or difficulties, some additional help learning to cope with difficult situations may be necessary.

Here are some ways that you can help your child cope with stress:

1. Create a Safe Word or Place – Communicate to your child the importance of letting you know when there is a situation that is uncomfortable for them. Take the time to help them come up with a safe word (code word) that they can say when they find themselves feeling stressed about a given situation. If they are experiencing stress at home or at school, talk to them about finding their “safe place” – their bedroom, the classroom, etc. That way when they feel like things are becoming overwhelming, they can go to their “safe place” and unwind before rejoining a group activity, a family party, etc. It is also good to practice taking a break in places where there is no quiet area and to practice stepping away from a stressful situation, counting to ten, or visualizing a calming environment.

2. Role Play – it is important to be open with your child about things that can occur in school and the community that can cause them stress, such as not getting their way, being made fun of or called names, hearing the word “NO” from a peer, family member or teacher etc. It is ideal to prepare your child with autism for situations like this. One good way to do this is to create a set of situation cards (think of the game clue) have 3 sets of cards that allow you to pick a location (school, grocery store, park etc.) a situation (not being picked for a team, not getting a toy you want, not being able to play with a friend etc.) and some phrases that your child might hear in a situation like this (you’re to slow, we don’t want you on our team, you can’t have that candy bar, it’s not your turn, etc.) pick a card from each category and role play the situation, all the while talking to your child about appropriate responses and behaviors and throwing in other situations that can arise. You can turn this into a family game and each person in your family can take a turn picking cards for everyone to act out. This will allow you to show your child with autism how to overcome obstacles and make good choices.

3. Find A Way To Help Reduce Their Stress Reducer – Giving your child a stress ball to squeeze or directing them to jump on a trampoline, taking a deep breath and counting to 10, are just some examples of how your child with autism can exert their energy in a positive way when under stress. Teach your child on the spectrum to resort to using their items rather than reacting physically when they find themselves getting stressed out or upset will help calm them down and regroup.

Tips to Enjoy Downtime and Decrease Stress

It’s hard enough to occupy your child’s time during summer, but now that school is back in session, their anxiety and stress levels may be hitting a new high. That, coupled with lack of peer to peer interaction, could make your child on the spectrum feel uneasy.

Since these are new times for all of us, we wanted to share some ways to help you and your child enjoy whatever break time you get.

Here are 30 ways to help you and your child unwind and enjoy down time.

  1. Make them a bath
  2. Encourage them to learn something new
  3. Listen to some guided relaxation with them
  4. Write in a journal
  5. Walk outside
  6. Watch your favorite movie or tv show
  7. Eat in silence
  8. Examine an everyday object with fresh eyes
  9. Color with crayons
  10. Do some gentle stretches
  11. Paint on a surface other than paper
  12. Play an instrument
  13. Take and online class
  14. Turn off all electronics and engage in pretend play
  15. Go for a run
  16. Meditate
  17. Read a book together
  18. Listen to music together
  19. Take a swim
  20. Take a hike
  21. Sit in nature
  22. Call a friend
  23. Walk on the beach
  24. Put music on and dance
  25. Play with your pets
  26. Go to the park
  27. Take a bike ride
  28. Play family games
  29. Engage in small acts of kindness
  30. Plant a garden