It’s interesting- the thing about blue. I have worked with several children who insist on only wearing the color blue.
So, of course, I looked up the meaning of blue (according to feng-shui) and here is what I learned:
“The meaning of blue is mostly calming, healing, soothing and relaxing. It also symbolizes dependability, trustworthiness, and security. Blue increases creativity, promotes contemplation and is often associated with spirituality”
So, it makes perfect sense for any child who seeks calm and security (like all children on the spectrum do to compensate for an often overwhelmed sensory system). As my client today told me, “when my child wears blue, he really shines!”
The question is this: What do you do when your child INSISTS on doing the same thing, wearing the same thing or playing with the same toy over and over again?
On one hand- you want to offer your child all the calm and security he needs to be able to do the things that really matter (like interact with you, focus in class, play with peers, etc.). On the other hand, you want to help your child learn how to deal when things don’t go exactly his way, because hey, that’s life and being able to roll with it is a survival tool.
So how do you proceed while holding these 2 seemingly opposite goals in mind? Read on…
A 3 step- approach to your child’s challenge in flexibility
1. Come from a place of compassionate understanding.
As I mentioned earlier, your child’s need to do things the same way or wear the same thing is not random. It is your child’s way of creating a sense of control, calm and predictability in a world that may often seem chaotic or hard for him to understand. In essence, he has created his own ‘security blanket’- a thing or activity that comforts him and allows him to deal with the challenges he faces, SO…..
2. Pick your battles.
The best way to help your child fight for control less is by giving it to him (the less push he feels, the less he needs to dig his heels). Therefore, if he wants to wear blue- let him wear blue and make sure you have a good supply of blue clothes in case you don’t get to the laundry. If he needs to hold his toy story character while visiting your family- let him hold it. If it is important for him to go home the same route everyday- do your best to do that (of course- there will be days when you can’t)- but the idea is to do your best to accommodate his needs to help make all the other challenges he might face just that bit easier. Remember, his repetitive or rigid needs give him a sense of order that he so desperately seeks.
3. Offer bite-size opportunities to stretch himself. Since you do want to help your child learn how to ‘roll with it ‘if things don’t go exactly his way, try to offer bite-size opportunities to stretch himself. For example, offer him a shirt that is not totally blue but has his favorite shade of blue on a design on the sleeve (instead if going for a totally green shirt all of a sudden). If he insists on eating with the same plate everyday, offer the opportunity to use the same plate but a different cup with his favorite character on it. Based on your child’s response (total resistant and meltdown versus willing to accept this change) you will know what your child is capable of handling right now. If you are met with outright resistance, drop it for now and reintroduce a very subtle change at another time.
You want to feel this one out and let your child be the leader. The more you listen to his cues to see if he is ready to accept change, the more digestible and successful these changes will be, and yes, ultimately- a child who can handle changes (spontaneous or otherwise) and be OK if you can’t find his favorite toy is what we all want.
But remember, success comes when you go at it one baby step at a time and let your child lead the way.
Do you wish you had ONGOING and CUSTOMIZED guidance by a professional to guide you on helping your child with flexibility, communication, social skills, self- help skills and more? If your answer is YES!, I strongly encourage you to take advantage of my special holiday offer (save between $200-$700) for anyone who books a private coaching package with me by midnight Jan.1.
Simply click HERE to set up a FREE strategy session so we can discuss if what I offer is a good match for you and your child.
It’s that easy and TOTALLY risk-free. Why not explore all your options and make sure you have not left any stone unturned? Click here to set up your “Propel Your Child Forward” strategy session today.
But wait- don’t go yet! I’d love to hear what you took away from this article or any question you may have. Please take a minute to post your comments/questions or ideas for future articles below-thank you!