In a world of medical appointments, therapy visits, home programs and educational tutoring, sometimes, special, needs parents need reminders to play. To get down on the floor and have fun for the sake of having fun. To drift off in that special world in which imagination takes over and family fun takes precedent over all the other junk in our lives.
When the kids were young, I attempted the one activity per child, per season, rule. That worked until they got a little older. Then I started to bend that rule. Did therapy count as the one activity-nope. Did tutoring count-nope. Coleman was a shy child and needed to learn to interact so did a weekly play group count-nope. Shandra was and is extremely intelligent. She needed enrichment, did she not?
Which activity is a parent to choose? Each activity takes time, uses energy, requires logistical effort, adds stress, and costs money. Evaluating the pros and cons of each request can really be mind numbing.
Some parents are crazy busy by choice. Some are driven by necessity. Which activity to allow, which to negate? Parents need to trust themselves. All those books are not always the answer. You know your child. I know mine. You are with your child twenty-four-seven. You know when they are tired, just gotten over an illness or are just needing a break. Trust your gut!
Developing a healthy skepticism about required vs non-required tasks is key. Ask questions. A few months ago, Mel’s orthodontics wanted us to have her wisdom teeth removed to prevent her teeth from moving out of alignment. No options given; until I asked questions. Was this procedure vital to her adult well-being? After a few target questions and a little discussion, a permanent retainer was an adequate solution.
It really does not matter how educated a person is. Asking is the only way to know if an activity is really necessary or just a current recommendation. Trends are so TRENDY
When Mel was young, I attempted to avoid all medical appointments and therapy visits and educationally targeted tasks in December. Give me a break! Was her world really going to fall apart if I waited a few more weeks to get that test or work on that skill. There are 365 days in a year and 30 of those belonged to the family. We only have one chance to be a parent. Give your child, your self and your family a break. Families matter, relationships matter. Special needs kids grow up just like their siblings.
Sometimes I needed to be reminded that it is ok to do nothing, to be unproductive, to get bored. Quiet moments can lead to meaningful discussions. Boredom to creativity. Unscheduled time is sometimes the best time to learn about your child’s inner thought. Play spontaneous games, ask silly questions, inquire about dreams. Next time an empty spot opens on the calendar, mark it off as a do nothing time and see what happens
Oh yea, it is December. Time to make some memories :)