Little boy sitting near wall in empty room. Autism concept.
Little boy sitting near wall in empty room. Autism concept. Source: Depositphotos

8 Great Parenting Tips for Parents of Kids With Autism

Parents spend endless hours thinking about and planning for their children’s futures. Before the baby comes, they spend months preparing the nursery, buying clothes, and baby-proofing the house. When the baby arrives, there are endless hours of lost sleep and worries about how the baby will grow and if it will thrive.

From start to finish, raising a child can be a daunting and challenging experience, but it’s one that parents wouldn’t give up for the world. The challenges of parenting a child can be increased when that child has special needs, like considerations for their specific kind of autism. There’s a lot that you need to know as the proud parent of a child on the autism spectrum. You’ll need to learn about crisis prevention intervention, how to manage a bad day, how to interact with your child  productively, and how to be patient when it feels like all your best efforts are failing. We have a checklist of eight parenting tips that will help support both parents and their autistic children to make the most of their time together.

  1. Positivity

If you don’t know this from experience already, you will soon; focussing on the positives is the only way forward. Stressful moments can often lead to a negative response or reaction, but positive responses and reinforcement are the only way to interact with an autistic child. Instead of chastising the child when they aren’t doing too well, focus on reinforcing their positive behaviors with praise.

Be as specific as you can with your positive reinforcement so that the child knows which of their behaviors they should focus on. If things go really well, try rewarding them with a little prize like a sticker or more playtime. Love your child for who they are, not who you wish they were.

2. Consistency

People on the autism spectrum, particularly children, favor routine. It provides a framework that makes them feel safe and allows them to understand how much time they have available for however many activities they need to do. Routine is particularly helpful when you’re trying to include new activities into your schedule. New things can be a little bit frightening when you are a creature of habit; sticking to a routine helps autistic children apply the knowledge they already have to new and possibly stressful situations.

3. Play

Make time for play every day. Not only does playtime help your child relax, but it also helps them to let off steam that might have been building up for a while. Playtime is also an educational experience that can help with learning new behaviors and make them seem a little bit less scary.

4. Go Slow

Introducing any new idea could potentially be overwhelming for your autistic child and also for you if you don’t remember to take it slowly. We know parents are probably eager to get the introduction of anything new over and done with, but autistic children need more time than others to accept and understand anything new.

5. Include Your Child

If your child is going through a particularly difficult time or their behavior is typically somewhat unpredictable, you may be inclined to leave them at home when you go to return books at the library or get some groceries from the store. While it might make boring, everyday activities a little simpler not to have them along, we encourage you to include your child in everyday things. It might help even out a bad patch of behavior to see that unscheduled activities can feel ok and it’s more time spent with the one you love.

6. Explore Respite Care

In caring for your autistic child, you also need to care for yourself. Finding out a little bit about respite care (childcare for when you can’t make a scheduling conflict work or for when you really need a break to take a moment for yourself) can make you feel like you have an option if you need it. It can take enormous amounts of pressure off your shoulders just knowing that help is there if you need it.

7. Have A Support System

It would be an excellent idea to find a support group for parents of autistic children. Being able to vent and talk to people who understand your challenges from personal experience can be very helpful in managing your stress. Support goes beyond just a support group; your friends and family should understand and accept the challenges you may face and be willing to work around them.

8. Take It Easy

Go easy on yourself! You’re doing the best that you can every day, and your child loves you for it.

Wrap Up

You’ll face challenges, and you’ll overcome them, one by one and day by day, if you keep these tips in mind.

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The Icy Health team curates the most interesting content and healthstyle related articles for our readers. Our content is vetted by doctors, medical professionals, and established writers.