Many Hats Mommy

Finding Grace & Choosing Gratitude

Forget the Cake–Just Blow out the Candles!

10 Comments

All children have times of anxiety, whether it’s fear of the monster under the bed, or worrying mommy might not return from the grocery store. Unfortunately, for most kids on the autism spectrum, their level of anxiety is high most of the day, every day.

Having learned the benefits of deep-breathing for myself, I have tried to get Dr. J to use it. No such luck. Then I heard a suggestion to have your child pretend she was blowing bubbles or blowing out a candle. That did work a bit.

Then the other day, a moment of genius. Actually, I guess I should say God gave me a moment of grace. Dr. J was extremely crabby and pouty. He would not stop yelling at Meatball to leave him alone, even times when Meatball was not even talking to him!

I took Dr. J into my room to try to help him calm, and maybe get a glimpse into why he was so crabby for the day. I told him, “Let’s blow out some birthday candles.” Of course he didn’t want to, and thought it was dumb. He laughed a bit, you know one of those irritated kind of laughs.

Then the moment. I FINALLY figured out a way to get Dr. J to participate in deep breathing:

competition

Dr. J absolutely cannot stand to lose. I think a big part of it is from his literal autism spectrum mind–when you play a game, the goal is to win, so you simply MUST win. So, thanks to God’s kindness, the thought occurred to me, and I said, “See if you can blow longer than Mommy.”

it worked

Again, he kind of thought it was stupid at first, but that drive to win could not be tamped down long! He just HAD to beat me! Sometimes he giggled, too. And for a few minutes, he wasn’t crabby.

It took me two years to figure this out. Hmmm, I wonder what I’ll discover in 2013?

Do you have any calming techniques for kids that have worked for you? Please share so I don’t have to wait another two years!

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10 thoughts on “Forget the Cake–Just Blow out the Candles!

  1. I don’t have any ideas…but I am going to use this one. I have a kid who just “wigs out” all the time…he also REALLY likes to win. :)

  2. You are so clever to think of this technique. Yay for you and yay for Josh! Yay for Meatball, too.

    Meema

  3. Crazy Pants loves deep pressure, so a good bear hug or massage on his arms and legs helps a LOT if I can catch the meltdown early enough.

  4. O M G – I could have totally used this technique yesterday during The Boy’s worst public meltdown ever. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

    I wish I had some wise words of advice to share. I don’t. Gimme a few more years, maybe I will.

  5. Love this! Problem (anxiety) + problem (difficulty with losing) = Strength! I’m going to be recommending this to other families!

  6. Deep pressure and a mini trampoline. Later he liked to throw a tennis ball againstthe side of the house outside and catch it. Never wanted to play baseball. Just throw and catch with himself. He came in with the greatest ideas after his “sessions”. He’s now 26 and loves to play the drums even though he has absolutely no rhythm.

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