We all know that stress can be detrimental to us, but new brain research is showing that stress ‘inside’ the home can be more damaging than stress that occurs outside the home.
In this video I share with you some of the research and some strategies for helping your Asperger’s child deal with stressful life situations.
And here are some added strategies to help create a ‘stress-free’ house in those critical times!
Creating a stress-less Home
1. Ensure you have some ‘activity free’ afternoons available after school … and insist that your child either hangs out in the back yard, goes for a swim, a bike ride – anything so that they too des-stress after a long day at school. Give them at least 45 minutes to de-structure before commencing homework or night time activities.
2. Don’t have the TV on in the morning before School. Instead, have some meditation or relaxation music playing so that everybody starts the day right. If you have a child on the spectrum who insists on the TV on… start with negotiating one or two mornings per week they can have it on and on the other mornings they have to read/play lego or draw etc. Measure their stress levels.
3. Allocate jobs for everybody to do in the morning. Make beds, unstack dishwasher, and feed the pets. Have a reward chart so that when jobs are completed the child gets a sticker and at the end of the week the stickers are added up for either pocket money or a special reward… an extra hour on computer or their choice of DVD.
4. Get everything ready for school the night before. Early mornings are often stressful times in a house. Try Hang school uniforms on a coathanger, with socks inside the pockets of the shirt and underwear over the coathanger. School bags at the front door with all books with school shoes right next to them. So the only thing you need to add is the lunch box.
5. Insist on a no-shoe policy in the house. As soon as you come into the house, shoes are off and left at the door on a shoe rack …that way you will know where they are in the morning!
6. At night, keep background noise in the home to a minimum. Try this exercise. Turn off every ‘noise’ making object in the house… tv, radio, music, computers… and just listen for a minute. Can you feel your stress levels drop? Often times background noise goes un-noticed, but can have a huge impact on emotions in the home. Try switching off all sound and just having soft music playing for at least an hour each night.
7. Insist on family dinner time as often as you can, with TV off. Family dinner times have been consistently proven to help improve children’s ability to interact socially, build better relationships and increase their abilities in many academic areas. Make it a priority.
8. Dinner time jobs are for EVERYONE! Setting the table, preparing vegetables, clearing up after dinner. It is as much a part of family dinner as the actual eating. If you have older children who have a lot of homework, it’s negotiable, but you are really not teaching children anything by having them not participate in household chores.
9. Do something for you! As mum, you truly are the centre of the house. If you are able to manage your stress levels, then you are more likely to be able to manage the stress levels of others in the house. Make sure you are journaling, exercising, getting together with friends, or doing something that increases your emotional energy banks. Cause if Mama ain’t happy… ain’t no body happy
Do you have any tried and true ‘stress-reduction’ techniques… please share in the comments below