Keeping your home peaceful and calm can be a challenge when you have a busy family and plenty going on. For a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder, “keeping the calm” is even more important. Like most parents or guardians of a child with ASD, you probably have witnessed your kid express extreme frustration during a tantrum or have lost complete control during a meltdown. When this happens, you are left with finding ways to calm your child and alleviate the situations. What’s the difference between a tantrum and a meltdown? A child will typically throw a tantrum when he/she is trying to express or communicate something, whereas a meltdown indicates that your child is past communicating and is emotionally exasperated.
As an autism therapy services agency, we understand the different elements of ASD and have utilized calming methods that can be used for kids with autism.
Go to a Safe Space
We have previously shared the importance of creating a safe space for your child with autism in our article, “Creating a Safe Environment for Your Child with Autism.” When your little one begins to throw a tantrum, you can help to soothe your child by bringing him/her to a designated, “safe space,” In this type of space, you can keep comfort objects, minimal noise, and sensory-friendly colors and objects. By bringing your child to his/her safe space, you can help to calm them down by creating an association between this zone and a calm disposition.
Whether it’s a soft blanket, a chair, or a specific toy, your child probably has a go-to comfort object that he/she reaches for when self-soothing. It’s a great idea to know exactly when objects your kid with autism reaches for when trying to calm down, so you can keep them nearby. When your child begins to throw a tantrum, reach for a comfort object that can help to soothe him/her.
Sing a Song
You don’t have to be Julie Andrews to sing a song with your child. Many children with ASD have an interest in specific songs, and if your child has a song or songs that he/she likes, keep those in the back of your mind. Try singing a preferred song in a calm and quiet voice. This can help to regulate your child’s emotions and inspire a calm environment.
Breathing is absolutely essential to relaxation. Deep breaths can help to regulate your emotions and physical condition. When your child begins to express anxiety and starts to throw a tantrum, try sitting down face-to-face with him/her and breathe in deeply with your child. You can squeeze their hand lightly when you breathe in, and this creates a connection between you and your child that can lead to a calmer environment.
Express Their Emotions Aloud
Children with ASD typically have a difficult time verbalizing their emotions, and this is augmented when they are throwing a tantrum or in the middle of a meltdown. We encourage you to try to understand what emotion your child is experiencing and to aid in the production of the verbalization of those emotions. For example, if your little one begins to cry when you ask them to come to dinner and stop playing with their toys, you can say, “I see you are mad, cam you say ‘I’m mad because I can’t play with my toys?’ By helping them verbalize their emotions, you can reduce the frustrations that they are feeling and help calm the situation.
There are many ways to connect with your child and reduce the stress felt during a meltdown or tantrum, and with these calming methods, you can help your child reach a calmer state much faster.
Hidden Treasures offers ABA therapy services that are tailored to your child’s distinct needs. We provide support and therapy services for parents of autism and children with ASD. Contact our team TODAY , and join our community of compassionate and dedicated professionals.