PHOENIX, AZ - Are you experiencing challenges while shopping or running errands with your children? According to autismcenter.org, here are some tips to help you make your trip an easier experience.
- Pick a reward.
Before beginning the errand, identify what your child wants to earn. You might reward your child with stickers, or he or she may receive something more elaborate, like points that earn a balloon or a special treat as a reward.
- Be clear about your expectations before starting the errand.
You might ask them to stay within arm's reach of you or to only put items in the cart that you have approved. Team efforts are most effective if you have more than one child with you. The kids may cheer each other on and help each other follow the rules if everyone must follow the rules before anyone gets a prize.
- Engage your child.
It's easy to reduce opportunities for less desired behavior by offering more opportunities for desired behavior. Put the items in the cart with your child's help, or ask them to check items off the list. These activities are fun to do with kids of any age as long as you give them some clues as to what you're looking for or use words rather than pictures.
- Maintain social reinforcement throughout the errand.
Praise them for all the helpful or kind things they do. Consider starting with small things such as walking beside you for ten feet or finding one item. You will be able to praise other actions overtime when these small things become part of the expectations.
- Engage them while they wait.
It's perfect to play I Spy while you're waiting in line. A child can play this game whether they are old or young, and can also play with more than one child. Keeping kids entertained while there is a wait includes visual scavenger hunts for things belonging to a certain category (things that are red or things that begin with "B") or hand games (Rock, Paper, Scissors)
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