“Optimism is the most important human trait, because it allows us to evolve our ideas, to improve our situation, and to hope for a better tomorrow.” ~ Seth Godin
Sometimes we have blue days. Down days. Terrible Days. E gets in these funks and it seems like nothing is going to get through to him. It’s exhausting and hard being around the negativity. After a while, it begins to mess with all of our moods. I get snappy, A is overly dramatic and C starts fussing more. How do we handle this?
Well, in this house, as I’ve mentioned before we practice. Practice isn’t always boring or monotonous. That wouldn’t engage our kids and what doesn’t engage is probably not going to shape minds and attitudes.
So… we play My Favorite Thing.
This is a game I made up while E was in a particularly bad mood. I’m aware of research that says depression rates being higher among Autistic children (source). E has had his full share of issues (which I will get into later) and so I want to do everything I can to avoid negativity creeping into his mindset. The kids love it!
How do you play?
We like to play at dinner time, but really just choose a time when your family is engaged with each other and not phones or work or whatever may distract you. We then start (typically with E because he is so impatient) and go around saying what our favorite thing is about each person at the table. “My favorite thing about E is… He gives the best hugs!” “My favorite thing about A is… We enjoy reading literature together!” It is a fun game for the kids and provides an opportunity for all of us to get some positive affirmation. Even when Hubs and I fight, it seems to be a nice way to handle things with the kids. side note – How great is it to be able to show your kids that you can see the positive in everybody, even when you are ‘oh so angry‘. I think it is fabulous, but I mean, I came up with it.
E always ends this game in a better mood. Typically, someone has been made to laugh – mostly because we have comic relief in the form of Hubs. There have been awful days when I actually stop everything and play the game RIGHT NOW. It’s our mood changer when nothing else works and it is a game so the kids aren’t even feeling like I’m doing something intentional.
So, that is one way our family helps E, and really all of us, be more positive. There are all kinds of ways, affirmation, refusing to dwell on the negative and so on… But for E, we have to DO SOMETHING, and this is our something. If you have ideas, comment below, I don’t have all the answers.