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.
- 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.
- Research the place with your child, Google is wonderful at giving us lots of information and quite often photos.
- Plan and write down the travel arrangements, if its public transport which BB hates, it’s what station, what train and what time?
- 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.
- A non verbal code for your child to let you know if they are feeling more anxious.
- 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.
- Ask your child questions about how they are feeling regarding the upcoming event.
- 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?