8 tips on planning days out to help reduce your children’s anxieties

I have to plan ahead when we organised days out with my daughter’s. Both of my girls are on the autistic spectrum. My teen BB, deals with travelling and days out differently to LB. BB worries silently while LB is loud and in your face. It’s often easy to overlook BB in times like these.

BB and I visited a youth center where we saw a family support worker who specialises in Autism. The family support worker was pretty helpful, however at first I was reluctant to meet with her myself and be grilled over. I am not someone who finds talking easy and for someone to try and tell me how to parent my child who they don’t know was already getting my back up. BB went off to have a mess around in the netball court with a youth worker.

However she family support worker wasn’t these to parent me by telling me what I should and shouldn’t do, she was there to give me tips on how to help BB. I made contact with this unit because I was concerned about her silent worries and violent anger outbursts. She shows a lack of empathy and very poor social skills. Her emotional state of mind was causing her to self harm and I felt powerless.

The one thing the family support worker did hit on on was how we go about planning days out or holidays. I used to just tell BB and LB we were going out and where and give as much notice as we could. I learnt there is a lot more to planning days out and it’s made a huge difference to both BB and LB with their anxieties.

8 tips on planning days out to help reduce children’s anxieties.

  1. Talk to your child first, let them know you are planning on going out and where you are going with as much notice as possible.
  2. Research the place with your child, Google is wonderful at giving us lots of information and quite often photos.
  3. Plan and write down the travel arrangements, if its public transport which BB hates, it’s what station, what train and what time?
  4. BB and LB pack a mini rucksack each of items they want to make them feel at ease. Fidget cubes, headphones for phone music, doodle pads and pens, a special photo to look at to calm them down should they want to find a happy place. LB often brings her ear defenders too.
  5. A non verbal code for your child to let you know if they are feeling more anxious.
  6. Make sure you have a plan B should plan A not happen eg, train/bus delays, trains being too busy. BB refused to get on a train while we were in London a few weeks back because it was standing room only. Mr B and I had to explain to BB many times that these trains were going to be busy but her dad and I were there with her. Thankfully she braced herself and got on another train. She kept her head down but that was ok. We had to keep reassuring her and had to countdown the stops until we got off. I know we can’t plan for every scenario, sometimes unexpected things happen, that’s life and she like others, have to learn how to cope.
  7. Ask your child questions about how they are feeling regarding the upcoming event.
  8. Talk about it as a family during normal conversation so they can listen without needed to speak unless they want to.

These are what we do with BB, we do the same with LB too but as I say she is very vocal and will display her anxieties differently. Ultimately our aim is to try to help them keep calm and enjoy themselves as much as they can.

I hope these tips have been useful.

What do you do to help ease your child’s anxieties?

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18 Comments

  1. August 15, 2018 / 9:14 am

    These are such helpful tips, as someone who suffers from anxiety the idea of children experiencing it is so sad as they would have even less of an understanding. Using these tips to help reduce the anxiety is so important!

    • rachelsdiary
      Author
      August 16, 2018 / 2:50 pm

      It is sad to think how much i need to prep my children but as long as i do it, then it all works out ok in the end and to be honest it helps me organsie myself easier too.

  2. August 16, 2018 / 10:20 am

    I think these tips make absolute sense. Although my son isn’t on the spectrum we do find talking to him about events that are coming up is a good way to prepare him for it. Same for holidays. We find it helps him ask his questions to settle his mind.

    • rachelsdiary
      Author
      August 16, 2018 / 2:48 pm

      Thank you. Anyway of being able to reduce a child’s stress level is so important for everyone involved.

  3. August 16, 2018 / 11:40 am

    This is so useful. My son isn’t autistic, but does get very anxious at times, and does struggle with new places, so days out can be tricky at times. He can also struggle to articulate his anxieties, so these are particularly applicable. I definitely find that preparing him well, talking about where we’re going a fair way in advance, and then looking at pictures online, really help him to get himself mentally prepared.

    • rachelsdiary
      Author
      August 16, 2018 / 2:46 pm

      Thank you, preparing your child in advance can ease so many anxieties when they have time to process what is going to happen. Anything we can do to help our children is always a positive.

  4. August 16, 2018 / 12:09 pm

    Amazing tips, I believe anyone with a child or more needs them. I also condition my daughter’s mind- who is almost 3 years now- before we go out, I find it really helps with her settling down and ultimately all of us enjoying it xx

    • rachelsdiary
      Author
      August 16, 2018 / 2:44 pm

      Thank you. Yes it can be useful to prepare any children before going out, as you say, it settles the mind.

  5. August 16, 2018 / 1:49 pm

    These are such great tips, especially planning the trip together with google. I underestimate how lucky I am to be able to plan surprises for my girls and to just go and see what happens. I will be making the most of it from now on but will also be taking some of your planning tips on board.

    • rachelsdiary
      Author
      August 16, 2018 / 2:43 pm

      It must be nice to plan surprises or be spontaneous. Hopefully some of these tips you will find useful 🙂

  6. August 16, 2018 / 3:32 pm

    This is great. My friend is a dad and he will find this useful for one of his boys. Always good to have a plan B X

    • rachelsdiary
      Author
      August 16, 2018 / 3:36 pm

      Thank you, i hope some of these tips can help 🙂

  7. August 16, 2018 / 11:28 pm

    These are very useful tips. I have a friend whose children are autistic, so I will pass this on to her.

    • rachelsdiary
      Author
      August 17, 2018 / 3:01 pm

      Thank you. I hope they can be useful to your friend.

  8. August 17, 2018 / 1:05 pm

    I love all your tips, especially about bringing a mini bag packed with distractions. I hadn’t thought of this. It’s so easy to end up feeling anxious when traveling in general. I’m going to try out your bag tip ?

    • rachelsdiary
      Author
      August 17, 2018 / 3:00 pm

      Thank you. I hope the bag tip works for you 🙂

  9. August 19, 2018 / 11:30 am

    Fantastic tips… We’re not sure if our 4 year old is on the spectrum yet but some of these tips work well for us.

    • rachelsdiary
      Author
      August 19, 2018 / 2:35 pm

      I think these tips work for any child who gets a bit anxious about going out.

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