When the sun is shining and the temperature is perfect for shorts, the opportunities to get your child with autism outside for some much-needed outdoor activity can seem unlimited. However, getting your child moving with physical activity can be far more difficult when the winter months come around. When you can arrange physical activity for children with autism, it boosts their overall health, mental clarity, and emotional stability. That being said, you may need to get a little creative during the winter with indoor physical activities in order to help your child get their daily dose of movement.
Take Your Child Swimming
Indoor and/or heated, of course! Swimming is one of the most beneficial activities for children with or without autism for a number of reasons. Children with autism often find the environment of the water to be particularly calming due to the constant low pressure from all angles and the effect of buoyancy. In the water, your child will feel at ease and have no problem spending a good amount of time swimming. Because of this, taking your child to an indoor pool is perfect for helping your child be more active when the winter weather takes over.
Use Your Local Community Center
If you have a community center nearby, you will likely make it a common destination during the winter. Your community center is likely where you will go for swimming, but it also will be great for other physical activities as well. The YMCA often has autism-specific programs that help keep children with ASD physically active while accommodating their needs. By using programs for children with autism at your community center, you can help ensure that your child will be watched by trained staff and that they are engaging in activities that will be beneficial for them.
Active Video Games
For the extra convenience of keeping your child’s physical activities in your home without having them running through the halls that is, investing in an interactive video game system will be well worth it. If you haven’t tried some of the interactive games available, you’d be surprised at how much they can make you sweat! Interactive video games are a great way to keep your child’s attention focused on physical activity without having to even step out the door.
Indoor Scavenger Hunt
If you don’t find many opportunities to let your child run around, keep in mind that walking can be great exercise as well. The wintertime is a great opportunity to hide clues around your house in search of an exciting prize. Think of a fun reward your child will enjoy for completing the scavenger hunt and be sure to use clues that are appropriate for your child’s level of verbal communication. Try to arrange the clues in a way that gets a lot of steps in during your hunt; your child will likely be having so much fun that they won’t even realize how much exercise they are getting.
Don’t Forget Those Chores!
The winter months are a great time to teach some basic household cleaning and upkeep that will be helpful later in life and will initiate physical activity now. Sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, folding laundry, etc. are all necessary skills for life and will get the blood flowing and the kids moving even during those cold days.