May 5, 2014

PREEMIE-LIFE: A SOCIAL/SENSORY TIME-OUT

Maybe your child needs a social/sensory time-out???

This past weekend we attended a 3 year old's princess themed birthday party. The party was great, I showed up early in the morning and helped decorate, then came back home to get myself ready and help Jarret get the kids ready too. After that we would all walk to the party. One nice thing is they live within walking distance from our house, like 7 or 8 houses down...real far, right?

Madison was having a great time for about the first hour and then it all started crumbling down! By this time it was about an hour past her nap time which I thought she would be ok with (she has stayed up through nap time before), but the over stimulation, the food, a lot of people, the bouncer, the red punch, THE CUPCAKES and the music was just to much for her to process ALL A ONCE! She needed a "social/sensory time-out"...



Let me give you a little insight on what she was doing and that I had the foresight to take her home and let her calm down, cool off and take a nap. 
  • The punch was red which she was fascinated with, dispensing it herself and pouring from cup to cup.
  • Cupcakes were on display (that is one of her triggers), if she sees them she can't see past them so to speak. There are going to be cupcakes at parties, social situations etc. and we can't fault people for wanting to display them, we have to either avoid that area with her or distract her until we can work past it.
  • She did't want to go in the bouncer she said it was too scary and noisy.
  • Then I proceeded to give her a plate of nachos that she requested because she saw her brother eating some. You know the kind that is liquidy, well she used it as finger paint and started to paint the table cloth...
At that point Jer and I started to get a little frustrated at each other over missed communication about a napkin, dumb right, but what that really meant was that we were getting frustrated because nothing was working! 

That is when I decided to leave the party and walk home with her. I took her princess costume off, wiped her face and arms clean, got her something to drink and laid her down for a much needed nap. All the while she was screaming and crying saying that she wanted her brother to come home too. Within five minutes she was out like a light, I took that time to have a time-out too, cool off, watch a little TV, so when she wakes up I would be recharged as well. 

Bryce on the other hand was having an absolute blast! He was having so much fun jumping in the bouncer with a whole bunch of other boys, eating, enjoying the music and being a kid. It made me happy seeing that he was happy and we didn't have to have him leave because his sister couldn't handle everything that was coming at her. That could be a whole other post on how siblings of kids that have a certain disorder or handicap are affected.

An hour and forty-five minutes later we returned to the party and she was much better! I avoided the dessert table at all costs for that matter, I held her till she was ready to be put down and by that time a face painter showed up! Madison LOVED that and had a lot of requests. Then she enjoyed the candy that fell from the pinata and she was starting to settle in. 

Once half the people had left she was finally comfortable to go into the jumper and start enjoying herself, which means that I could finally sit down and enjoy the party too!

Long story short you have to have the foresight to know what is your "game plan" if your child starts melting down. What are you going to do for a social/sensory time-out? 

If you have another child that is enjoying the party and doesn't want to leave that often times means the parents have to split up, one will stay with the child and one will take the child away from the overwhelming situation. 

You have to think ahead, try as hard as you can to keep your cool, and don't get mad at your child if it's too much for them! Try and find what the root of the problem is...and see what you can do to fix it. 

I wanted to share this experience with you because I know I am not the only one that is going through these similar situation, BUT mostly importantly I wanted to share what worked for me! Maybe you don't have a house down the street to walk home to, but you might have a car that you can take a little drive in, get a drink, let them cool off and start over...

Parenting is hard...parenting is not easy, but if we all try and see where the behavior is coming from and not reacting to "the behavior" it will make us better parents.

Have a great Monday and the start of a new week!

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