7 Ideas for Sensory Safe Bedrooms

Having a child on the autism spectrum brings different challenges and rewards. For instance, many parents say their child with autism is less competitive and selfish than neurotypical children. On the other hand, there are situations that children on the Autism spectrum face that can cause conflict and challenge for parents such as dealing with sensory issues.

Giving a child with autism a sensory safe space can help them manage periods of feeling intensely overwhelmed, aggravated, confused or frustrated. Their bedroom is a great place to start. Here are seven ideas for creating a sensory safe bedroom for your child on the Autism spectrum.

  • Quiet Cleaning: Children on the autism spectrum can be more sensitive to noises. If you need to clean your child’s room, you should consider a robotic vacuum that reduces sensory stimulation and makes them more comfortable. Vacuuming often reduces pollutants in your home’s air, which helps your child stay healthier. Since robotic vacuums are quieter than regular vacuums and can be programmed to go on when your child isn’t home, they are a great option for limiting noise stimulation. Review this guide to choose the best appliance for your budget.
  • Calming Colors: Certain colors such as white, blue, green or purple can create a sense of calm. Painting your child’s bedroom walls in these colors can have a soothing effect. In addition, you can use an LED projector, bubble tube or fiber optics to add soothing colors, motions and sounds.
  • Swinging: A swing suspended from a single suspension hook gives your child a cozy place to relax and settle down. The back and forth and side to side motion of swinging can often soothe an upset child’s sense of self and security. It can also be a good distraction — your child can sit in his swing and rock while engaging socially with family or friends.
  • White Noise: Adding a white noise machine to your child’s bedroom can help them settle into sleep, relax after a busy day at school or calm down after a behavioral situation. It’s not uncommon for a child with autism to experience sleeping difficulties, making them more drowsy and irritable during the day. A white noise machine can help them fall asleep and stay asleep.
  • Texture Flooring: A child on the autism spectrum can be brought back into the present moment with access to a variety of full-body sensations like bean bag chairs, crash mats and carpet. To give your child the right amount of sensory stimulation, you can even purchase colored gel floor tiles that squish when kids step, jump, push, touch or play.
  • Minimal Decor: Keep the decorations to a minimum in order to limit sensory overload. That doesn’t mean that your child’s room can’t have any patterns, it just means you want to be sparse with them. For example, a child with Autism might have a hard time falling asleep under a busy Spider-Man-themed comforter. Try using a solid color comforter and give your child one Spider-Man pillow, instead.
  • Organization: Many children on the autism spectrum thrive off of routine and organization. Clutter can be an extreme intrusion on their senses. Help their room stay tidy and organized by giving them storage for toys with lids or containers so they stay out of sight when they aren’t being used. Use neutral colors for furniture like bookshelves and desks that would likely hold items that can be colorful and distracting.

Your child’s needs will be different from other kids, and not just because he or she has autism, but because your child is an individual with unique needs and wants. Having your whole family help with decorating your child’s space can bring everyone closer together and help them better understand what it means to be on the autism spectrum.

Easy Strategies For Helping Kids With Homework

Homework is a hot debate these days. While some people claim that it is necessary, there is increasing evidence that excessive daily homework could have negative impacts on children’s health. For the time being, however, it is somewhat of an inevitability, which leads to an ongoing struggle for parents. Here is how to encourage your children to do their homework, without it turning into a daily argument.

Let Them Choose Their Environment

According to Parents.com, one of the best things you can do to help your kids with their homework is let them choose when and where to do it. Everyone works best in different ways, and it is a good idea to let your children develop these preferences from an early age. Let them choose what room they prefer to work in and at what time, and make them stick to that choice. This helps them create a habit they will rely on during their time at school.

… But Keep Distractions Away

The only rule you should implement is no multi-tasking, such as watching TV or listening to music. Explain to them that this only serves as a distraction, and just means that they have to work on their homework for longer. You need to teach them to focus on the task at hand before moving on to something else.

This is particularly important for them to pick up when they are young, since they are only going to have more distractions as they get older: half of teens say they watch TV or check social media while doing homework, and 60 percent are texting.

Be Available, Not Controlling

It can be tempting to hover while they do the work, telling them how they are doing it wrong and pushing them to focus when they get distracted. However, this isn’t very productive for either of you. According to The Atlantic, research has shown that helping your child with their homework doesn’t yield better academic results. Your child has to learn to work independently, and has to make mistakes - it’s the teacher’s job to correct them, not yours.

Instead of closely watching over homework time, just let your kid know you are available for help if they need it. When they have a question, they can come to you and you can work through a problem with them. Check on them often if they have a history of not doing their homework, but give them more space if they don’t tend to have an issue with it.

Bring In Rewards

One way to motivate the kids to get their homework done is to give them an incentive. Instead of offering a sugary treat as a reward, which can give skewed ideas about nutrition, offer up something fun that is actually good for them

For example, tell them that once their homework is done, you can do a fun outdoor activity as a family. You can go for a hike, do some bird watching, or go on a treasure hunt with an app like Geocaching. Look into outdoor activities that are particularly educational to encourage them to continue learning beyond their school work.

This works particularly well for weekends, motivating them to get the boring stuff out of the way so you can all enjoy your Sunday together. You can also offer a bigger reward, like a camping trip or another family adventure, if they do all their homework during the week.

If you want your child to do well at school, you need to make sure they are doing their homework. However, if you want to do this and also teach them responsibility, you need to give them some space and trust them, while remaining available to help and to spend some quality time with them afterward.