The holidays are upon us! Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping are creating a great deal of excitement and energy around us. Shopping stress is usually heightened with the inevitable large crowds, hectic traffic, and noisy checkout lines. For parents with special needs children this can be an especially challenging time. In light of these challenges, I am launching my first SPED-CAST with shopping survival Tips for parents.
1. Be Proactive! Carve out a plan in ADVANCE for preventing meltdowns. Being proactive is always better than reacting to a situation in the heat of the moment.
2. Make a game plan. Create a list of items you plan to purchase, map out where you plan to get them, and set a time limit for how long you will be at each location.
3. Be smart with timing. Research when stores are the busiest, and do not shop during those times. Early morning or late evening for example may be quieter and less hectic.
4. Don’t forget about medicines and diet concerns. Many times students need to have a specific medicine during specific time frame. Setting a reminder alarm might help with this. Plan ahead with special snacks if they are on a specific diet.
5. Design a “survival bag”. Fill it with favorite items that are calming or comforting to your child. Special snacks and drinks might be helpful as well.
6. Positive affirmation is a must. Don’t forget to tell your child when they are doing a good job.
7. Location Location Location Be strategic about where you shop. Try to navigate locations that are kid friendly. Some stores have play areas, others have quiet sitting areas, some stores sell snack and drinks, and my personal favorite is a comfortable place to sit down.
8. Consider alternate shopping methods. Shopping online can be done any time day or night. This is an unbelievable resource for ANY parent.
9. Take a supportive friend or family member. This can be a GIANT help when checking out or making an important shopping decision. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
10. Have fun! Remember ’tis the season to be jolly! Look for ways to make shopping truly enjoyable for you and your child.