The process of diagnosing Autism in a child can be a little bit difficult for parents at home since it involves a series of observations on a child’s behaviour. Specialists in this field agree that it is best to identify and treat this disorder in children at an early age. Parents are usually concerned about the warning signs to look out for in their babies for them to be concerned. There are particular signs that children who end up with this disorder start exhibiting at a tender age. There are standard Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) indicators which are very common to autistic children.
My friends were exhausted. And for good reason. They have a 4 year old and a 1 year old, commute to work, and have to walk the dog. But, wait. Haven’t many people gotten through that? Looking at their tired eyes, and seeing them deal with their children, I remembered numerous episodes of Nanny 911. Structure helps everyone. Many a time I saw the nanny implement the ‘families sit down to eat dinner’ rule. ‘Everyone sleeps in their own bed’ soon followed. I always thought this simply provided structure just for the kids, but seeing this struggling family without much structure for children, it all made sense.
The routine provides clear decision making (or limits the need to make decisions) for parents. It eliminates guilt (I decided last year not to give in to tantrums, and this is a tantrum, therefore I shouldn’t feel guilty for not doling out another cookie) and it assists with family unity. Dinner being ready at 6, all sitting around a table facilitates conversation, and also allows duties such as washing up to follow. With bedtime, when parents can never have the same routine twice or depend on sleep for themselves or their children, a cranky family ensues.
Routines give kids a sense of security and help them develop self-discipline. Children also naturally fear the unknown, and structure will allow them to handle change within a context of the ‘known’. These little minds and bodies change daily and the familiar acts as a comfort.
The possibility of handing kids to babysitters and having them be put to sleep without a set routine is stressful and often ruins an evening that you are paying quite a bit for. Leave it to a night when you are exhausted for the toddler to decide not to go to bed, or to get up every 30 minutes. If you don’t have a fairly stricy routine for this, the child gets mixed messages. Parents should be able to parent – to make the decisions and be the ‘alphas’ in their family. Children crave this structure, and look for role models.
We have so much clutter in our brains and structure can eliminate all of those extra decisions. So get out the calendar and a timer and relax!
During the time changes that happen twice a year – children’s sleeping patterns often get thrown off – here are some tips to help with the springtime changes when the clocks go forward by one hour. This article is written based on a baby or child who goes to bed at 7pm and wakes at 7am.
APPROACH 1) – Cold turkey
- On the evening of the time change – put your baby/child to bed at the normal time (7pm) and before you go to bed move all of your clocks forward by one hour.