Mother doing homework with her daughter

Autism, Parenting and COVID-19

Because the COVID-19 pandemic is uniquely impacting my family, I understand that many people with autism and their families are also directly affected. Whether it is a disruption in therapy services, closures in school or extracurricular activity closures, this pandemic is fluid and developing further. I believe we are not even close to seeing what is to come.

However, in the midst of the storm, there is always light, and I think many of us ‘mama bears’ get profoundly lost in proper planning. After all, for the autism-mom, a strict schedule is often the key to our success. It’s natural to be concerned, but give yourself a day to break away from the worry, for your own peace and to ease your children. They are little sponges that can feel when you’re worried. I want to encourage you to drop the concerns about the future, and please, do not pull your children into your worries.

We have such an extraordinary opportunity to strengthen the spirit of our children by being hopeful, agile and determined to live our best Happie Lives.

 Below are four ways you can help your kiddos:

1. Keep things the same, even as they are changing.

The idea here is while we are all adapting, you remained unchanged, firm and on solid ground. The truth of the matter is, it’s so easy for our children to be entertained by their electronic devices. But that’s a no-no.

Let me tell you, leaving your kids with open access to all media outlets will create worry within their hearts. You have to pay close attention to the children and young people in your life. They are not exempt from having thoughts and feelings about all of this.

2. Create a visual schedule.

You must stick to your new routine, so that your child can rely on the familiar during the unfamiliar. Include building in downtime for yourself, as well as your child. Please take a look at our sample schedule below: 

quarantine routine for children download

3. Don’t feel bad.

When your child starts venting or expressing how much they miss their friends or extracurricular activities, try not to let guilt set in. The situation is what it is, and it calls for you to be the best example of making lemonade out of lemons. If you allow your guilt to outweigh your confidence, you’ll allow exceptions to your new rules as special treats to make things easier for your child. Don’t do that. Just stick to the schedule and offer a gift of encouragement after your child has completed the tasks on their list.

 

4. Redirect.

Can you remember the last time you cooked breakfast in the morning or had the opportunity to work while your children studied at the same time? Can you imagine a fun movie night? While we are all adjusting, there is always a silver lining! 

My prayer is that peace consumes you and hope overtakes you. There are people all over the world and in our own communities that are going without. As you are a chief in your children’s lives, also be a representative for the world.

Love,

Antoinette Banks

PS – If you’re looking for a way to explain the coronavirus to your little ones, try this visual narrative by Little Puddins.