Celebrating Valentine's Day - Tips for Parents with Children on the Autism Spectrum
Valentine's Day is a remarkable opportunity to express affection and regard for our loved ones, yet it can be a difficult time for households with children who are on the autism spectrum. It is essential to consider that autism is a range disorder and every kid's experience of this holiday can be distinctive. With the correct arrangements and understanding, guardians and carers can make this special day successful and valuable for their little one.
Here are some tips to commemorate Valentine's Day, from making a secure and pleasant atmosphere to discovering activities that are fitting and pleasant. With these techniques, families can observe Valentine's Day in a way that is significant and fulfilling for all included.
Creating a Safe and Comfortable Environment For a successful Valentine's Day celebration, it is essential to provide a secure and relaxed atmosphere. Some modifications may be necessary for children with autism who find certain sounds, textures, and activities overwhelming and distracting. Parents and caretakers can practice the following steps to create a sensory-friendly atmosphere:
employing noise-canceling headsets
dimming the lights
laying out soft blankets and mats
keeping fragrances to a minimum,
avoiding thick fog machines
offering foods that are easy to digest and chew
Incorporating Schedules and Routines For many children with autism, having a regular and predictable daily routine is integral to their well-being. Parents and caregivers can create daily rituals, schedules, and bedtime routines to provide their children with the security and confidence needed to reduce their anxiety and provide them with a sense of certainty. For example, if their child's favourite colour is red, they could create a daily ritual in which they wear red clothing, eat red foods, or receive red-themed gifts. By setting up these daily routines, parents and caregivers can help their children to feel more secure and calm in the days before the holiday. Exploring Sensory-Friendly Activities Parents and caregivers of children with autism can help them connect to the theme of Valentine's Day by providing sensory-friendly activities. Such activities give these kids the opportunity to experience and interact in a meaningful way with the day's themes. Examples of these activities include:
Creating a themed sensory table
Creating themed crafts
Making themed sensory bags
Using scented items like essential oils
Wearing themed accessories such as headbands or scarves
Parents and caregivers can provide a great service to their children by introducing sensory-friendly activities that help them become more familiar with holiday themes in a pleasant way. Such activities give children the chance to explore the holiday in a manner that is both enjoyable and accommodating to their needs.
Including Socialization Opportunities Socialization is an important part of life. Parents and caregivers can help their children prepare for and engage in socialization during Valentine’s Day by providing them with ample opportunities to socialize with their peers in a variety of ways, such as:
Planning social outings in advance
Choosing outings where their children can participate and engage with peers
Reminding children about appropriate social etiquette
It’s important to remind children on the autism spectrum that they do not need to engage with others if they do not wish to.
Celebrating in a Meaningful Way Caregivers and parents can make this Valentine's Day a special one for their kids by finding activities that the whole family can have fun with. Examples of such activities could be visiting a special museum display, playing board games or Roblox, having dinner in their favorite dining spot, or inventing new Valentine traditions for the family.
Resources Parents and caregivers can take advantage of a range of resources on the web to help them get ready for and observe Valentine's Day with kids. Here in Houston, we have a great selection of sensory-friendly gyms, museums that provide sensory-friendly slots, trampoline parks, and non-profits that offer activities for people on the autism spectrum. There are a lot of alternatives at our disposal, so let's make the most of them and have a wonderful Valentine's Day.
Keep in mind, do whatever works for you!