Your Guide to Quarantine with a Child with Special Needs
Parenting is stressful enough without being stuck inside with children due to the coronavirus pandemic and quarantine. School is closed. Forget about playgrounds. And skip other public places where you’d normally go. Social distancing is the new normal, and that means no playdates either. Disruption in your daily routine and an increase in unstructured moments for your child may result in low levels of motivation and higher levels of anxiety and stress. For you as a parent of a child with a disability like autism, these may seem magnified. Below is your guide to quarantine with your child with special needs.
Maintain a Consistent Schedule
If you keep your routine close to what it usually is, it may help. Wake up as you normally would in the morning and maintain the same bedtimes. Filling the day hours with activities during quarantine will provide your child a predictable, structured environment, a sense of stability, and decreased stress. By reducing the amount of unstructured free time during quarantine your child with special needs will be less restless and bored.
You don’t have to be around people to be outdoors. Take a walk in your neighborhood (wearing a mask and keeping a safe distance), sit outside on the porch, go for a family bike ride, or drive around and find an open field or less populated area to throw a ball or just run around. This will limit the amount of time during quarantine your child with special needs is at home watching TV, texting, or playing video games. Ideally, an outside activity such as playing ball or going for a walk would be on the schedule daily anyway. Any physical activity has obvious health benefits, and increased exercise helps reduce repetitive behaviors and improve sleep.
Read to Your Child
This would be a great time to dust off the books you’ve been meaning to read for months. Pile onto your bed or the couch with the kids and have them read their own books during quarantine. There are also lots of online resources to download books, and some are even free. So, even if you don’t have the books on hand, you can access them.
Go Online with Friends and Family
Whether your extended family lives near or far, you’re probably avoiding close contact at this point. So, set up a time to call them online. This will not only allow you to check on relatives you don’t see every day, but it will give you a sense of community in a time when you feel isolated. You can do this with friends too!
Bake and Cook Together
We all have foods in the pantry that we skip over when we’re meal planning. Challenge yourself (with your kids’ help) to use what you have on hand to make a delicious meal or treat. Your kids will love helping you search for new recipes and create something new.
If you need help with more resources, please contact us.
American Disability Association is dedicated to the wellbeing and protection of children with disabilities and actively provides support to enhance their quality of life. Whether you are dealing with federal or state benefits or struggling with a school district to get proper education for your child, we have the resources to help you. Many individuals and families managing a disability are not aware of the wide array of services available to them, or they do not know how to apply for these benefits in a way that is likely to succeed.
Contact us for help. Dial (888) 323-2133 or email us at [email protected]