Coping skills are how we manage our thoughts, feelings, and actions to tolerate and deal with stressful situations in life. For children with autism, coping skills help them return to or maintain a regulated state. This includes a wide range of strategies ranging from sensory-based coping strategies such as playdoh to cognitive strategies including puzzles. Teaching coping skills to your child makes them more resilient and mentally healthy. Keep reading for some tips.
Some parents find emotional acceptance as a coping strategy that reduces stress. Continuously comparing a child with autism and their development to that of a non-autistic child can cause anxiety. Accepting that your child has unique needs, such as additional educational services and a different parenting approach from other approaches used with siblings, can help ease some parental distress.
Often the simplest things are the hardest too. It is beneficial to remind your child that they can always talk to an adult or a friend if they are stressed. Talking to somebody is an easy coping skill that may help them solve a problem. It is easy for children on the autism spectrum to be overwhelmed with their emotions, making them feel like they have no one to talk to. If your child is struggling with a situation, you can try making a list of pros and cons to help clear their minds and see the right steps to take in the future. This will help put things into perspective and help them understand what they want.
Deep breathing helps immensely in times of stress and anxiety. When we are anxious, we forget to breathe, which often leads to a decrease in oxygen and subsequent panic. Teaching your child to take deep breaths when feeling extreme emotions will help them calm down and make peace with the issue.
Physical activity such as walking, yoga, or dancing improves our mood as endorphins are released in our brains. Endorphins are also known as happy hormones, and they regulate our emotions instantly. So, this is a great coping skill to teach children when they have pent-up energy to release.
Engaging in the hobbies we enjoy helps us feel better and alleviates our stress. Similarly, letting your kids pursue a hobby and using it as a coping skill is a great help. Activities like painting, listening to music, playing an instrument, or reading helps calm down children’s nervous system and boosts their mood. A fun, relaxing hobby as a coping skill will stay with them for life.
The Connections Therapy Center
The Connections Therapy Center serves families of children and adolescents with disabilities and special needs. We are a team of experts in the fields of pediatric speech, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and behavioral sciences. As a team, we offer intensive hands-on therapy for children and adolescents, as well as informative and useful resources for families. If you are interested in learning more about what we can do to help your family, visit us online or give us a call at (301) 577-4333. Want to get more information on how to help your child thrive? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.