As discussed in our previous post, it is hard for many children think flexibly about situations. This is especially harder for children with ASD as they have trouble integrating information to understand situations and see the bigger picture.
Another way to support your child during these unprecedented times is to talk to them. Give them opportunities to share their worries with you. Normalise worrying – let them know that everyone else is on the same boat and it’s okay! Avoid telling them not to worry about it as this invalidates their feelings. It would be helpful for them to actively process it.
- Have a family ‘worry box’. This is a good tool for helping children deal with anxiety as it helps them to externalise negative thoughts and distance themselves from it.
How it works: Make and decorate a postbox. Alternatively use a toy that can store things, like this Worry Monster plush toy (you can find these on Amazon – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Childrens-Worry-Monster-Companion-Fluffy/dp/B01DCEQ4IW).
Then, perhaps each night before bed, have your child write down worries onto a piece of paper. Have them fold the piece of paper and put it in the box. The next day – take the notes out of the box and see if your child still has those worries. If they do, place them back in the box; if they don’t, have them rip up the paper and throw it in the bin.
- Make talking a part of your routine. Use this as an opportunity to connect more, have fun and draw attention to positives e.g. what they enjoyed most about their day etc. There are talking games available on sites like Twinkl (https://www.twinkl.co.uk/resource/t-c-6836-100-circle-time-questions-to-ask-just-for-fun-cards)
There are also communication cards by Speechmark that you can purchase on Amazon (https://www.amazon.co.uk/You-Choose-Communication-Sue-Nicholls/dp/0863889905/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=communication+cards+sue+nicholls&qid=1589449245&sr=8-1).
You can make your own with your child if you like. See attached template. Example questions have been included (symbols are from www.widgetonline.com).