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Fun for Everyone: Preparing for a Fun Day With Your Child With Special Needs
Kids with special needs need special planning when fun is involved. Some children tend to have difficulty with processing sensory stimuli, while others may have physical limitations that come into play when a day of fun is on the schedule. Weather, crowds, hunger, lack of sleep, etc. are all factors that can make or break a day with your child. But, with a little forethought, as well as having a plan B, you can set everyone up for a successful day of fun.
Spontaneity often has to go by the wayside when planning for kids with special needs. You must have a plan. Figure out what you want to do in advance, where you want to go, who will join you, and then map it all out. Be prepared to switch to an alternate plan if the first one doesn’t work out.
Gather all the things you’ll need to take along with you on your fun day, including comforting toys/stuffed animals/blankets, medications, preferred food, a change of clothing, and anything else that your child will need for the day.
3. Talk to Your Child
Explain to your child with special needs what the fun day will entail. If s/he is verbal, encourage her/him to ask any questions s/he may have about your outing. Calm any fears or reservations s/he may have about a temporary change in her/his predictable routine. Don’t surprise your child with special needs with an unexpected day of fun.
4. Hope for the Best
Even typical children can get emotionally overwhelmed on “big” days such as one that entails a fun outing. Be flexible throughout the day in case things don’t happen to go according to plan.
5. Stay Home
Despite all the work you may have put into planning your day of fun, sometimes it’s just best to stay home if the day arrives and things don’t seem like they’re going to work out the way you hoped. Have a “staycation” instead and set up a water station in your back yard, or cover the kitchen table with craft supplies and have at it. Don’t let the change in plans upset you and play up these new activities to your child with special needs.
The whole purpose of a fun day with your child is to enjoy your time together. It’s okay if things don’t go as planned. And if they do, even better. Making memories is all that matters!