Can you believe it’s already 2019? This past year has been another great year of helping families, fostering community, and spreading our support for children with ASD across the country. As we settle into our routine after the holidays, it’s the perfect time for you to set some goals to make 2019 the best year yet.
Stick to a Self-Care Routine
Working hard to support your child with ASD while they grow and learn takes effort, time, and energy. It can be easy to let your needs slip by the wayside when you are a parent, so it takes intentional dedication to be sure you are really taking care of yourself. While a lot of parents think about practicing self-care, and perhaps remember to do it once per week, few actually have a routine that they look forward to and stick to. Make yourself a calendar if you must and schedule one self-care activity for yourself each day. Perhaps a few days include getting some exercise while other days involve practicing mindfulness. Whatever works for you and keeps you feeling healthy, write it down and stick to it each day.
Create a Consistent System for Positive Reinforcement
Using positivity and rewards is always the best way to teach your child with autism appropriate behavior and to encourage their growth. For 2019, make it a goal to create a system of positive reinforcement you can rely on to help your child. Figure out which special activities are the best motivators to use as rewards the types of visuals your children respond well to. Make it your goal to stay consistent with this system, but also be on the lookout for new ways to use positivity to help your child as they develop and discover new interests.
Go to Sleep On Time
You could file this under self-care probably, but this one tends to be a particular challenge for many parents with a child on the autism spectrum. Children with autism tend to have a harder time falling asleep than most children. This in turn also often means less sleep for you as a parent. There are several strategies you can use to help your child with autism fall asleep, including scheduling relaxing activities before bed, using weighted blankets, and practicing mindfulness.
Find a Charity to Donate To
As a parent with a child with autism, you are part of a community of people who share a unique experience. Autism still isn’t very well understood by a lot of society and there is always more to learn about how to best support children with autism. That’s why you should make it one of your New Year’s resolutions to support a charity that encourages autism awareness and researches ways to help children with autism. One suggestion we have is Autism Hope Alliance, an organization that provides education about autism and volunteer support for families.
Check out last year’s list for even more ideas for your New Year’s resolutions.