• Creating a Calm Zone

    Letís face it, we all need a break now and then. Period. Whether we take 5 minutes in the car before we go inside, stop and grab a treat for ourselves, or even hide in the bathroom crying. Been there, done that for all of the above. And I am an adult. But life gets to you and we find ways to cope.

    Kids period, have to learn to cope. We as parents can help them do that. Special needs kids need more help than others. They may not understand WHY or WHAT sets them off. They may not understand how to calm down. They may not be able to control their body or actions. They just know they are frustrated and NEED to get it out. Unfortunately getting it out may be a minor meltdown of crying OR it can be a major meltdown of screaming, flailing, hitting, kicking and generally losing control. This could happen at home or, worst case scenario while you are out in public.

    Part of the battle is knowing your childís triggers and warning signs and averting them. This isnít always easy. I know with my oldest, changes. And mainly changes to his environment were always a trigger. He loved when I redid his room and he had input into it, but I knew it would result in a day or 2 of issues. I did my best to redirect.

    The other part of the battle is teaching your child to cope. Creating a calm down corner or zone does wonders. So does teaching them to learn the signs they are working towards a meltdown and how to avert them themselves.

    What is a calm down corner? It is a quiet area you create in a corner of your home or their room with things that help them calm, feel more in control and relax vs. throwing the screaming raging fit that wants to come out. A hanging chair or weighted blanket both are great options. Calming colors on the walls. Favorite audio book at the ready. A calming sensory bottle or 2. Calming music or lights. You can even put options and steps to calm down on the wall and help direct them from one to the next.

    Whether you send them to the calm corner or they realize they NEED it and take themselves there, it is a sanity saver for both the parent and child. If your child is in any type of therapy, talk with your therapist, OT, IEP person to see what they recommend. They can also help you understand the triggers and healthy ways to deal with the woes and joys of raising a special needs child.

    You, the parent can take a page from this and create your own calm down corner in your bedroom. That zone where you can go after dealing with an epic meltdown from your child. Candles, soothing music, CHOCOLATE or even a snuggly blanket can help us diffuse from what we deal with daily as parents of special needs children. Remember if you donít take care of you, you wonít be any good to anyone. Advocate for your child, but also advocate for yourself.
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