Not only is it important to create a safe and stress-free place for children on the autism spectrum, it also helps lessen the child’s challenging behaviors and provides them with a positive learning environment to grow. Here are four ways to make your home less stressful for children with autism.
- Post encouraging reminders throughout the house
If you have children with autism who experience constant stress and anxiety, placing positive notes around the house can get them out of a negative headspace and into a more positive mindset. Here are a few examples of encouraging reminders that can be left in your child’s bedroom, in the bathroom, on the fridge, or simply around the home:
- Do your best—Instead of aiming for perfection, strive to complete a task to the best of your ability. You should be proud of however close you get.
- Accept that you can’t control everything—There will be some circumstances that are completely out of your control. That’s OK. Focus on the things you can control.
- Breathe—Sometimes, the best reminder is something that you or your child can focus on. Channeling your actions on this simple reminder can help tremendously when anxiety begins to build.
- Organize your home
Clutter can increase stress and anxiety levels, foster unhealthy eating habits, trigger respiratory issues, and encourage feelings of isolation. Not to mention, a disorganized and messy space can cause some children with autism to get easily overwhelmed. Keeping a clean home environment can help reduce your child’s stress and anxiety levels and promote a healthier living environment. To remove clutter from your home, start by organizing the room that your child spends the most time in. Get rid of items that your child hasn’t used in a long time, store away items that you think your child may break (or objects that could be a potential safety risk), and donate old toys and books.
- Minimize sensory overstimulation
Some children with autism can display over-sensitivity to home stimuli like fluorescent lighting or loud sounds. Reducing this stimulation can help lower stress levels and make your child more comfortable in the home. Block out bright light with light bulb filters or blackout curtains, repair any appliances that are giving off loud sounds, and avoid using household cleaning products with strong scents.
- Create a space where your child can relax
For many people, with or without autism, having downtime is absolutely essential to help reduce stress. Carve out a private space in your home—whether this be your child’s bedroom or a tucked-away nook in a living room or playroom—where your child can relax, feel secure, and be safe. Stock this area with books if your child likes to read, art supplies as a way of expressing creativity, and pillows and blankets to create a sense of coziness and comfort.
Kay Carter is a writer from Raleigh, NC. When she isn’t writing about interior design or real estate, she enjoys reading, traveling, and practicing photography.