Ask the Horizons Team: Struggling with Ideas of Things to do

3
Aug

Ask the Horizons Team: Struggling with Ideas of Things to do

Question:

I enjoy reading your newsletter each week and always find a lot of great support and strategies! One thing I struggle with is coming up with ideas of things to do with my two children. I have a 7 year-old son who is blind and has a cognitive impairment. I also have a 4 year-old daughter who doesn’t have any disabilities. When we have time to do things together I’m not sure what to do, and struggle to come up with ideas that allow me to be with both kids at the same time. Do you have any suggestions?

Thanks,
Laila in Kentucky

Answer:

Hi Laila,

Thanks for your kind words about this newsletter and I’m so glad you find it a beneficial resource! You certainly have a lot on your plate at home with your son and daughter. I love that you are thinking about how to involve both of them with you throughout the day. It can be a challenge to come up with new ideas and ways to involve a child with neurodevelopmental issues along with a sibling. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Do chores together – You have to do them anyway, so you might as well include your children. Each of them can take different roles, and you will need to experiment to figure out what part of each task will work for each of them. For example, if you are putting the dishes in the dishwasher one child can hand you the dishes, you can rinse them, and one child can place them in the dishwashers. Have them help you dust, sweep the floor, get the mail, and other everyday tasks. Kids enjoy helping, and these tasks build excellent thinking skills that lead to greater independence.
  • Play games together – Choose games that can be simplified for your son but that everyone can enjoy. You can also have your son play on a “team” with you so that you can give him a specific role that will be more appropriate for him. That way he can leave the game when he’s had enough, and you can finish the game with your daughter.
  • Create things together – Use a variety of art materials to create things individually or as a group. This is something you can all do together at the table, but that you can tailor to meet each child’s needs. When the weather is nice you can create art projects together outside – use sidewalk chalk on the driveway, put water in spray bottles and “paint” the house, or put food coloring in bubble solution and make rainbows together.

These are just a few ideas of some ways you can include both your son and your daughter in activities throughout the day. For more ideas you can check out our Do Something Daily calendar, where you will find 365 ideas for engaging your children in meaningful activities. It provides lots of ideas many people haven’t thought of, as well as reminders of everyday tasks. You can find the calendar here. Have fun finding new ways to enjoy time with your kids!

My best,
Nicole

Comments

  • August 4, 2012

    Laila –

    I also struggled to find activities that my oldest with autism and youngest typical child could enjoy together. I would suggest trying some simple music or rhythm instruments together, like making paper plate tambourines or soup can maracas. An adaptive dance or yoga class is also a fun way to have them be together and participate at their own skill levels.

    Starting now to help them find ways to play together will pay off, so don’t give up! My youngest is now 9 years old,and she is smart and creative about finding ways to adapt activities for her brother and keep things fun for all.

    Best,
    Cathy

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