how do I keep the children entertained today?

Coping with Easter Holidays and a child with SPD, anxiety and autism can be like negotiating a mindfield! It’s not just thinking about ‘how do I keep the kids entertained today’ stress. But also how do I keep them entertained and keep my son from not getting too stressed, too angry, too emotional….

We went to the garden centre yesterday for an Easter Hunt. Sounds nice you all say and yes it was. But can anybody relate to this?

We go to the check out to pick up our entry forms. I have no pen (my first mistake) nobody seems to have a pen so we need to wait. Stress out number 1.

We get the pens Yay! But my sons pen does not work No! Stress out number 2.

We finally get a pen so we set off looking for the first clue. My other two children wander off enjoying the sunshine. My son however is worried he won’t find it first, this worry overwhelms him and he starts running around like a headless chicken. Stress out number 3.

One of my daughters finds the said clue first and tries to be helpful by sharing her find with her siblings. Stress out number 4.

We then complete the question. Name a famous rabbit? Phew I think not too tricky as everyone can name Bugs Bunny surely? The pressure is overwhelming for my son whose mind goes blank and cannot think of one. He does not want help! Stress out number 5.

Yes, Bugs Bunny! Well done clever boy I say. And lots of high fives later we are ready to start on the next clue. Or so I think…my son looks at the entry form. It clearly states one famous rabbit but it has three lines to write on, so do they want three famous rabbits or just one? “What should I do” he keeps asking me. It is pointless to say not to worry about the other two lines so we decide to go and ask somebody. Right problem solved, now on to clue two.

Clue two is equally challenging; there are strange smells in the garden centre which upset him, making him feel sick. The loud noises agitate him and the constant worry of not finding the clues start to become too much. Stress out number 6.

I bump into a friend and stop to chat politely whilst trying to keep one eye on my son. He gets more and more agitated that my attention has strayed from the Easter Hunt. He cannot understand that social etiquette dictates that I should at least say hello. He believes that if the Easter Hunt is all consuming for him then surely I must think and feel the same? My friend asks how the holidays have been oblivious to my son now rolled up in the foetal position in amongst the flower pot display. “Isn’t it lovely to not have any routine” she says, I just nod and agree as I have not got the time or inclination to explain how important routine is to our family and without things can start to unravel. Finally I extract myself from the conversation as quick as poss so I can extract my son from the display without breaking any pots!

After about an hour of this and many stress outs later we finally queue up to get the prize. Which is a small chocolate lolly.

Was all that worth it? Should I have put my son in that stressful situation in the first place? Yes I believe I should. You see today it was just an Easter Hunt but tomorrow, next week, next year and for his whole life he will be facing challenges and I won’t always be around to support him. I guess it is about learning life skills, to be able to cope in the real world.

I feel like a mean Mum but then as I sit in the sunshine with my three beautiful children, each one unique and the chocolate rush hits my brain I think “yes it certainly is all worth it”.

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