One of the biggest challenges in modern day parenting is just having a moment – a moment to truly be present without thinking about everything on your plate. Then, add Autism.
In the last 16 years in this field, the most important thing that I have learned is there is so much power in 10 minutes. You can set aside 10 minutes each day for togetherness. There isn’t pressure in 10 minutes, like there is in 30 minutes.
- Pick a good time. Try to find a time that isn’t too stressful. Do not choose 10 minutes before you have to leave to be somewhere.
- Put away your phone, turn off the TV.
- Pick a chore. Choose a simple chore that you don’t care about getting done right. Setting the table, folding socks, sorting mail, stirring the sauce, etc.
- Or don’t pick a chore! Take a walk, lie on the grass and just be. (This is the harder of the two).
- Go nonverbal! Try to limit how much you are talking or filling the space. Use gestures and expression to communicate. This will make the 10 minutes calm and slow it down.
- When the 10 minutes is over, share the experience with a simple recap. “I enjoyed stirring the sauce together.”
You will be surprised the impact of just 10 minutes of togetherness on the parent-child relationship. Try it each day. Learn something new. Don’t worry about getting something done or being entertainment. Most importantly – enjoy!
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