If you’re an ASD Mom, you know what the end of the school year can be like! I’ve been there and it can be downright ugly. I want to help you avoid the tears, and get more time in for YOU, so you can feel more powerful and help your child feel more successful!
There are SO many disruptions from the routine at the end of the year. Everyone feels it! If you’re in the US, your child may have already finished up the school year. In this case, these tips will be useful leading into your summer activities as well.
Paying attention to even a couple of these strategies will impact your experience! You can do this! Remember, everything that happens is a learning opportunity. There’s no such thing as “failure” in my books.
If you’re just starting to follow me, you’ll find some common themes in my work. I will coach you to have a plan and take a proactive approach… and when things go well, you’ll know how to praise your child so you see more of the “good stuff!”
When things do go sideways (and they will at times), I’ll support you so you know how to handle the worst of the worst. You’ll learn to get back up, dust yourself off – give yourself a little loving kindness for doing your best – and move on with your head held high!
The Importance of Awareness
You’ll notice that I’m a huge fan of self-awareness. In my Better Behaviour Bootcamp, I give Moms the tools to start paying attention to what’s going on for them… not just their kids. After all, who is supposed to be driving the bus?
(Please don’t say your child’s therapist….) It’s You!
That’s where I want you to be. By paying attention to YOUR mindset, you can become a much more effective and happier Mom.
Watch Episode 6:
5 tips to avoid end of school-year madness
Tip #1: Keep your child on his or her usual schedule.
When the weather gets nice we start feeling a bit more carefree, and of course, we want to take advantage of the nice weather. I totally get it! However, this can backfire if your child’s sleep schedule is wonky and he’s over-tired. (It can take the whole weekend for your child to recover from one late night… is it worth it?)
Keep your weekends relatively calm. Back in the day, before I learned how to manage difficult behaviour and connect with my son, I packed our weekends full of “fun stuff.” Why? To be honest, I didn’t know how to interact with him! (Yeah, it sucked). So, I tried to keep him busy. I thought I was pretty clever… lol. My son wound up being overwhelmed and as a result, so was I. This, my friend, is a recipe for disaster. At the most, plan one outing each weekend leading up to the end of the year, and at the start of your summer. Ease into things.
If your child’s old enough, look at the calendar together. Block off the days leading up to the end of the school year, so he or she has a sense of the timing. Don’t leave your child in the dark!
Tip number #2: Tend to the Basics; Food, Hydration
This is just plain-old common sense, but when things get crazy, it’s easy to lose track of the basics. I remember a few “fun fairs” that weren’t all that … fun. Walking in the front door of a chaotic school, I realized that I’d forgotten to give my two kids a snack before leaving. I knew I was toast as my son walked in the front door of the school and headed right to the cotton candy, saying, “Mom, I’m hungry.” Whose idea was it to have those smiling Moms selling that stuff there, anyhow? You know who you are, sly dogs. I’ve been on a few committees myself!
Now, if you don’t already have one with you, grab a bottle of water while you’re getting your child’s cotton candy (lol). Don’t get caught with your knickers showing. If you don’t, you’ll hear “I’m thirsty!” as you’re lined up for the fortune teller, and and you’ll have to fight the sweaty crowd in the sweltering hallway, on your way back to the cotton candy to get that water!
Tip #3: Keep yourself in check; be mindful of your triggers!
Moms, you’ll find if you’re new to my work that I am BIG on looking after YOU. I give you full permission to be mindful of your needs… you are the most important part of the equation. Why is it that we turn into martyrs this time of year and feel compelled to take on Martha to show that we know how to bake?
I find that many of my ASD Moms are softies, and people pleasers to-boot (previously guilty). Don’t do it! If you must, do yourself a favour and buy the cupcakes. I won’t tell! You’ve got an amazing brain; use it and recognize that you’ve got a lot going on. Be kind to yourself.
Going back to tip #1, you’re in charge of the schedule. Don’t be afraid to say “no” to a BBQ or event that you feel obliged to attend. I can’t tell you how many times I kicked myself in the tail-end for accepting an invite and wound up deciding to make some amazing recipe that inspired me. I’m sure that amazing salad tasted great to the folks who ate it, as I drove home with my son losing it in the back seat. Get real about what you can manage Sister! Don’t be a heroine.
I absolutely insist that you make time for yourself. In my Better Behaviour Bootcamp, I’m a stickler for self-care. Let’s do the math. If you have 10 units of energy in a day and you’re going flat out, those puppies are getting used up fast. Even if you take 5 minutes to stop, put your phone away and do something you LOVE to do, I’ll bet you’ll be up one unit by the time you switch back into Mom-mode. Just DO IT. See how good it feels.
Tip #4: Make sure your child gets enough exercise and downtime.
Most of us don’t get enough exercise unless you consider a trip to WalMart a workout. I guess it qualifies, but if you’re smart you probably leave your kids at home! When things get chaotic, your child will have some pent-up energy that electronics won’t touch. If you can, boot your kids outside or take them for a walk. Does your child complain that walks are boring? Count the number of dogs you see in your neighbourhood. No dogs? Count squirrels!
Being outside has so many benefits that nothing else can offer. If you need things to engage your kids in, stop in at the dollar store on your way home from your WalMart workout. For a whopping $10 you’ll be able to grab bubble soap, a hoolahoop, sidewalk chalk, a couple of balls and a few other goodies. Tell your kids that you’re going to be outside for __ minutes, and make some fun. Let your inner child come out to play.
Idea: Take some pictures of your child blowing bubbles; print it out and stick it on the fridge. Kids LOVE seeing pictures of themselves. Let your child (or children) pick their fave.
Tip #5: Outings: Have a Plan and Leave While things are Going Well!
Before you go somewhere, no matter where you’re headed, think about what your expectations are. This is such a simple to do, but so easy to overlook. I am a HUGE fan of being proactive. What’s that saying about an ounce of prevention?
If you know you’re going to Gramma’s house and last time your child got caught trying to play her 100-year old family heirloom violin, make sure your kids know it’s off limits. Before you get in the car, tell your child that you really want to have fun, and with his/her help it WILL be a great time. Be clear about what you expect!
Now, here’s a tip that you’re going to want to share with your fellow ASD Moms (along with this blog post, I hope). You’ve been there for a couple of hours, and things are going well. Time to go. Wha??? Yep, leave while things are going well. Why do we stay until things go south? Why? If you leave while things are going well, you can thank your child for making it a great outing, and find something to praise him/her for!
Sister, you CAN do this. I want to help. It’s all about learning to plan and think ahead (use a notebook). If you do, I guarantee you’ll have more fun, and so will your kids.
That’s what it’s all about, right?
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