Evening Round-up

No matter how tired everyone is in the evenings, you may discover taking some time to slow down, get organized, and make connections with your youngster with autism is an invaluable investment of time and energy. Remember that the goal is not perfection, but rather to increase contentment and decrease stress for everyone.

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Take a few minutes to do a few routine tasks so you don’t have to deal with them in the chaos of the morning rush. Back when I was a young, harried mother, I found myself stomping around bellowing orders and empty threats as I tried to get the kids in bed. I kept thinking of all the things that needed my attention. As my stress level rose, I made everyone around me miserable. So, I’m suggesting an alternate plan. Make an effort to remain calm in spite of the loud sound of looming deadlines. You can’t control every aspect of family life, and you can’t make everything perfect, so just relax. Establish the Evening Round-Up as a regular routine to get ahead of the flood, thinking of it as an “investment in contentment” rather than a “time thief.”

Here’s a sample Evening Round-Up checklist to get you started. Without nagging, spend some time calmly help your youngsters get their checklists completed.
1. CLOTHES. Does each person have a set of clean clothes? Do they need gym clothes or after school clothes or basketball league clothes? What about shoes, socks, underwear, coats, hats, etc.?
2. BODY. Clean head to toe in the evenings to prevent a morning rush. That means shower or bathe, wash hair, brush teeth, and even shave if needed.
3. BACK PACK. Put all work supplies and/or books, permission slips, lunch money, and other necessary items in back pack before going to bed.
4. CONNECTION. Take a few minutes for quiet interaction with your youngster with autism. This is important even if your youngster is non-verbal or does not seem to participate in the conversation. Read a story or talk about their day to help them make an emotional connection with you and wind down. Take time to review the schedule for the upcoming day, to discuss concerns, and to review rules and/or expectations – whether they seem to understand or not. And don’t forget to remind your youngsters of your love and support.

TIP FOR THE DAY: Remember, perfection is not the goal here. You just want to make an investment of 30 minutes every night to increase contentment. Believe me, your efforts will pay off big time for all involved.

And take a bit of time to learn new ways to systematically address challenging issues that can arise in the lives of our friends with autism. Click on the Toolkit tab on our webiste for great resources; http://FAQautism.com

NOTE TO READERS AND LISTENERS: I am Cathy Knoll, a board certified music therapist and long-time friend of many folks with autism. At FAQautism.com we are committed to providing free, practical, everyday tips for making life better for people with autism. Feel free to send me a confidential email at talk@FAQautism.com with your thoughts or challenging situations or innovative solution. And don’t forget to check out our website for a wealth of ideas and a glimpse into the world of autism. http://FAQautism.com

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