Of course you want to make sure your child is as happy and healthy as possible (who wouldn’t?). There are many people out there who will probably stick their two cents in and give you their unsolicited opinion. Everybody parents differently not to mention things were very different when your mother or even your grandmother had children. Don’t feel pressured to listen to anybody else tell you how to make your child happy. However, if you’d like a few ideas that have been backed up by science and studies, take a look below and see if you can use any if them.
Look At Things From Their Point Of View
Try to look at things from your child’s perspective. We’ll never quite understand just how difficult it can be to have autism. They have to navigate a loud, busy world, for a start. Imagine how scary that is for them! It’s important to note that most children with autism aren’t shrewd enough to manipulate you by pretending to be upset and sad, unlike what some people may try to tell you. That is a much higher developmental skill that takes years and years.
You can’t spoil your baby by picking them up and loving them too much. Instead, soothe them by holding them, rocking the, making shushing noises, and giving them a pacifier. This is the same with your older child with autism who often have a much younger developmental age than their chronological age. It’s important to ensure that you’re responding to your child’s distress as early as possible. Leaving them to ‘cry it out’ is not a good idea. Responding to their needs immediately helps them to feel safe and loved.
Positive touch is a fantastic way to soothe your child. It makes your child feel safe and comfortable as well as reduces their level of cortisol (the stress hormone). It’s also a great way to produce oxytocin, the feel good hormone. This hormone is very calming and helps to promote bonding between parent and baby. Gentle stroking is one of the most soothing ways to practice this, and is important to promote this at your child’s developmental age. Massage classes and reflexology would be most beneficial.
Offer Choices, but Not Too Many
Children with autism do have it pretty rough. They sometimes get no say whatsoever in how much they eat, where they sleep, what they wear – the list goes on. They are never in control of anything, and this can make things even more stressful for them. Try to understand when they are being fussy. They are just frustrated, especially since they can’t put into words what is making them upset!
As your child’s verbal skills increase, try to allow them to make small decisions. Give them choices, but not too many. For example, let them pick the type of vegetable they have with their meal. This gives them a choice and empowers them without making them feel overwhelmed. Start with one or two choices and build up from there.
Get Out of the House
If your child is simply not cheering up no matter what you do, it could be that they need a change of scenery. Why not take them to the park, or just go on a long stroll? They might want to feel the sun on their face, and enjoy the sound of the grass and trees rustling as you go. If you can get out of the house and socialize your baby with another baby, they’ll have an even better time! Take the time to allow your child to form relationships with smaller children early on, you’ll help their development both now and in the future.
Focus On Effort And Not Milestones
It can be exciting to see how your child is progressing sure, but you shouldn’t be zeroing in on their milestones and only their milestones. Science even backs this up. Parents who overemphasize achievement are more likely to have kids with high levels of depression. Focus on your child’s efforts and attitude instead and everyone will be much happier. Don’t compare your friend’s kids to your own. Slow progress is still progress.
Keep Up With Their Health Checkups
If you want a happy child, you need to be partly intuitive and partly open to meeting with health professionals If you’ve met one child with autism then you’ve met one child with autism. Just like in typical children, every child with autism is different. Being an intuitive parent is key, so you are in tune with your child’s wants and needs . However, you won’t be able to figure out everything on your own, so don’t be afraid to get some advice if you need it. There are resources like https://www.mustelausa.com/baby-hair-loss that can help you to figure things out, but an appointment with a pediatrician might be a good idea if you’re still at a loss. Make sure you do your due diligence to find one with experience with children with autism.
Validate Your Child’s Emotions
Although your child may developmentally be a baby, and they may not be able to understand absolutely everything you say, studies have found that children as young as 8 months can understand your emotions. Learning how to connect with your child on their level is absolutely key if you’re going to make them happy and healthy. Show your child that you understand the emotions they are experiencing. Take time to help them navigate their world and all the issues they encounter.