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Calming a Volatile Valentines Day



As Valentine's Day approaches, the world transforms into shades of pink and red, evoking both excitement and groans. This day of love and social connection can be a bit challenging for everyone, including our autistic loved ones.


From classroom valentine exchanges to the complexities of dating, each age brings its unique set of challenges. This blog offers considerations and tips to help your child feel cherished on Valentine's Day, embracing both the joy and complexities that come with it.


Prepare:

Anticipate potential challenges your child may face and build skills in advance. For younger children participating in valentine exchanges, practice and understand the teacher's approach. Teens attending dances may benefit from social stories and conversation starters. Ensure they have the tools to manage anxiety and know how to contact you for early pick-up if needed. For those dating, equip them with age-appropriate information about consent and good dating practices.


Accommodate:

Creative accommodations can enhance your child's Valentine's Day experience. If your child has dietary restrictions, plan for alternative treats. Recognize that not all children enjoy typical Valentine's Day activities, and it's okay to opt-out of events causing discomfort. Explore alternatives like inviting a friend over for a fun activity instead of attending a dance.


Love: Valentine's Day is an opportunity to express love, especially as a parent or caregiver. Consider your child's preferences and show affection through thoughtful gestures, whether it's treats, attention, a special gift, or an activity aligned with their interests. Involve them in decision-making, such as choosing valentines or planning a special dessert, to communicate love and respect.


Connect on Their Level:

For those who may not grasp the concept of Valentine's Day, celebrate their interests that bring joy. If your child is passionate about specific objects, find ways to incorporate and celebrate those in your expressions of love.


Navigating Social Nuances:

Some autistic children may feel pressure around social nuances of Valentine's Day. Shift the emphasis away from romantic love to emphasize satisfying relationships in their life, be it with friends or family. Reassure them of acceptance and unconditional love at home.


Show Yourself Some Love:

Parenting is a demanding journey that requires patience, empathy, and, above all, love. Acknowledge your efforts and take a moment to appreciate your role in raising a human. This Valentine's Day, treat yourself with self-love, whether it's reading, exercising, getting extra sleep, or connecting with a friend. You deserve the same love you shower upon your child.


Conclusion:

As Valentine's Day unfolds, navigate its complexities with love, understanding, and creative approaches tailored to your child's needs. Celebrate the unique joys they bring into your life, and don't forget to show yourself some love along the way. Happy Valentine's Day!



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