While traveling is a fun-filled experience for many, it can be anxiety-provoking for some. Traveling with kids can be exhausting for everyone. If you have kids with autism, there are special considerations. Luckily, we have learned some tips to entertain kids with autism during car trips
Our child with autism prefers set schedules and does not easily adjust to change. Vacationing in new places can be discomforting. However, proper planning can help cope with a new situation.
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Each parent needs to pack a bundle of extra items, like car seats, diapers, strollers, snacks, or even a first aid kit. If you are traveling by road in your car, here are five tips to entertain kids with autism during car trips.
Make Arrangements Before Hand
Planning can save your child from discomfort. Explain to your kid what they can expect from a road trip. You can try drawing pictures and creating a social story. Let your child know how it feels like to be in the car for so long, what they might see during the travel, what they will see once they reach the destination.
First screen time, then snack and drink.
It will help in preparing your child mentally. They will feel less anxious and more excited when they live the story they heard a few days back. You can even role-play few days before the trip to defuse your child’s anxiety.
We rounded up our favorite sensory-friendly play, fidget toys, chewelry, and weighed blanks in our Typically Twitterpated Amazon Store. Many are appropriate to bring on a road trip. Every child is different, but for us to have a successful road trip we make a general plan using a visual schedule or storyboard and try to stick to it. It can be super basic, but it’s important to outline a plan for your child’s visual schedule.
Pack All the Essentials
Think about food. Maybe your child has a special diet or preferences- bring those on the trip. If your kid likes a snack at a specific time of the day, make sure to prepare and pack it or buy it before you hit the road. Having your kid’s favorite meal along will surely keep them from being irritated with the change in place.
The snacks we provide are the same as his favorite at-home snacks. We bring his favorite toys, blanket, and clothes that have proven to be comfortable. It is imperative on long trips that we schedule physical activity into our day. The weighted blanket is helpful for late afternoon and early evening issues.
Whether it’s a book or their tablet, make sure to have their favorites. Moreover, bring a familiar toy to help them relax and relate to the experience. Whether it’s their blanket or shoes, do not forget to pack your child’s favorite stuff.
Bring Headphones or Ear pods
Noise can be disturbing for some kids with autism. The crowds and traffic noises may make my son anxious, and it may be hard to get comfortable with the idea of visiting new places. It helps to pack headphones or ear pods for your kids. Play them their favorite music or let them watch what they enjoy, it will keep them distracted. By avoiding the change in their surroundings, it may, in turn, keep them calm and relaxed.
Use the Knowledge that you have about the Likes and Dislikes of Your Kid
Parents do know what their kid likes or dislikes. Keep all their preferences in mind when you are planning a trip and packing their stuff. Try to bring all you can to stick to a routine, which, if disturbed, can be overwhelming.
Moreover, talk to your healthcare provider to make the traveling process more fun and smooth for your child. Try not to force your kid into anything that upsets them. Longer car routes can be annoying. Coordinate your potty or gas break with a rest stop that has plenty of green space. For meals, either eat a packed lunch or pick up a meal to picnic in the park. Try to take a break midway so your child can rest and gear up for the fun activities you have planned.
Be Prepared for the Unexpected
Even if you cover all your bases, there can always be something unexpected. The change in place and routine or the crowd can cause a complete upheaval. Make sure not to panic in such a situation. Consider keeping your kid engaged by playing spontaneous games or letting them use their gadgets. Take things slow if need be!
In a Nutshell
You can carefully plan a road trip with your kid with autism and help them enjoy their vacations. Let your love and care for your little one be incorporated into your travel planning to have a fantastic vacationing experience.
What are your favorite tips to entertain kids with autism during car trips?
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