The arrival of a child with autism at home involves many changes that affect all members of the family. This includes, of course, grandparents, who may find it difficult to interact with them. If you have grandchildren with autism, you might be interested in our advice on how to understand and relate better to them. These are five tips:
1. Expect the unexpected
A crisis can occur at any time, so we must be prepared. Children with autism are very sensitive, and any alteration in their environment might cause tears and screams.
Although this is a common behavior in children, you should anticipate these situations by planning some words and actions that may calm them down.
The first thing you need to do is move your grandchild away from any stressful place. Then, you could make some jokes and act as if you were in a fun game. Humor is always a good way to release tension.
2. Change what you can and let the rest go
To maintain a good relationship with both your grandchildren and their parents, and have a good time with them, it is advisable to share your opinion on parenting very carefully.
Focus on everything you can do while you’re spending time with them. It’s all about enjoying these moments, contributing and supporting their parents as much as possible. Change and transform what is within your reach, and do not stress over the things you can’t change. Just let go.
3. Savor the moments and create memories
Children with autism have difficulty developing empathy and interacting with others. They may not stand out for their affection, but there are strategies, such as games, that will help develop a closer relationship.
Try to get involved in their activities. Play their games, laugh with them, and pay attention to their tricks from the side of the pool. Little by little, you’ll start to notice these special moments in which your grandchild will show you their love. Enjoy every hug, kiss, smile, and appreciate all the memories.
But remember that, sometimes, they may have a bad day or be in a bad mood. Let the happy days compensate for the bad ones, and keep in mind that your grandchild is a very sweet being.
4. Learn to love their peculiarities, work with them and use them in your favor
All children within the spectrum are unique and have their own peculiarities. Some develop a strong interest in certain topics. Use this as a powerful tool to develop a closer bond with them.
Try to learn about those topics so you can have a good conversation with them. For example, if your grandchild loves dinosaurs, tell them a story about it. This could help you teach them new things and calm them down whenever they go through a crisis.
Going out can also help you get closer to your grandchild. Take them to the movies, plan a trip to a theme park, a museum, or any place where they can learn more about what they like.
5. Let them rely on you and be available
Grandparents are essential in the lives of both children with autism and their parents, especially to help them release stress. Living or spending enough time with the children gives a perspective on the situation, the parents have to go through.
You can contribute with your wisdom and experience. Be present at home so you can offer your guidance and support. It is important that they feel your unwavering trust and love.
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