Call it what you need to, but it’s really just quality one-on-one time with your child. I used to spend the entire day with one of my boys once a week. Each week they would take a turn and they would get to decide what we would do for the entire day. I even included an entire day by myself in the rotation! Sadly for a variety of reasons, this practice has fallen to the wayside. Long story short, I don’t have a fully functional village. I know I’m not the only one. My children’s therapist, and mine, strongly encourage this quality one-on-one time.
The biggest reason is it allows us as parents to remember our children are human and give our children a chance to shine instead of constantly focusing on behavior modification (aka discipline). This is especially true with children that have behavioral difficulties due to disorders. It is way too easy for us as parents to get wrapped up in the therapies, appointments, and teachable moments that we forget that there is a child there that is in need of love and may be desperately afraid that they are a bad person.
Yes, it IS our job to teach them “when you feel this way, this is how you behave” and “when this happens, this is how you behave” but it is ALSO our job to make sure that they do not feel like bad people because of it.
So how can we give our children quality moments to shine when we don’t have babysitters to look after the others? Maybe you only have one child but don’t have the entire day to devote? I completely get it. Our lives are messy, complicated, and seldom go the way we would like. I’ve been giving this some thought.
The point of this is to give your child the opportunity to feel seen, heard, and valued. You could always make it a weekly family activity be decided by a family member on rotation with everyone getting a turn. Then again you could just pick a weekly activity you can live with and allow the rotation to select the particulars.
Everyone old enough to actually pick living in your household needs to go on the rotation list. And YES that includes you, the parents. Make sure you are on the rotation list too. I don’t care if that means aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. You are trying to teach that every one is seen, has a voice, and has value after all!
My Suggestions and Thoughts for Activities to Choose From
- Family Game Night
- Family Movie Night
- Family Outing
- Food/Dinner Lab
- Make sure this is age appropriate and fun activity
- You, the cook, have to eat what you make
- Everyone else has to at least taste it
- You must consider everyone’s sensory issues, allergies, and food triggers
- Cannot pick something that will cause someone misery
- Cannot pick something that will send someone to the hospital
- Gagging, choking, and aspiration due to textures
- Migraines due to food triggers
- Hives, rashes, and anaphylaxis due to allergies
- On a Child’s Day: Child Picks, Cooks, and Cleans Up After Dinner with an Adult
- On an Adult’s Day: the adult can fly solo OR include all the kids in the project
- Read a Book Out Loud to the Family
- Arts & Crafts
I would love to hear more suggestion and ideas from all of you!
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