Finding time for your SN child when you have a NT child — The Bump
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Finding time for your SN child when you have a NT child

DS and DD are only 16 months apart. That alone has its challenges, but with DS having ASD, I feel like there just isn't enough of me to go around. I know I need to spend more time with DS one on one, but it is so difficult with DD. She just turned 3 and wants me to play with her ALL.THE.TIME. And DS won't really engage when DD is around. I have to go in his room with him and shut his door to keep him in the room and keep DD out. However this is a huge problem since DD stands outside of the door and either cries or beats on it. She pretty much refuses to play by herself for more than a few minutes. I know she is very jealous of DS and I constantly worry that I'm not giving enough attention to both kids. I SAH with them, so it makes things very hard. DD will start preschool 2 days a week in the fall so that will help, but any suggestions on what I can do until then? TIA!
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Re: Finding time for your SN child when you have a NT child

  • Are they both still taking a nap?

    If your DS is definitely taking a nap, is it possible to play quietly with her during his nap time?  Laying in bed reading books, (I know you're probably in need of break too thats why I'm suggesting relaxing ideas), watching a movie, letting her take a bubble bath all by herself as long as she wants (obviously with you in the room). 

    When you're trying to get your DS to engage can you put a baby gate in the door instead of shutting it.  I think it's pretty typical for your DD to be upset at the idea of you going in with DS and shutting the door.  Maybe make a special treasure hunt for her while you're engaging with DS?  

    Or what about a special toy she can play with while you're with DS that's only allowed in her room and only during that time?  or a movie? 

    To my boys:  I will love you for you Not for what you have done or what you will become I will love you for you I will give you the love The love that you never knew
  • I'd get her in nursery school as soon as possible, don't wait until the fall.
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  • Very similar situation in my house. They are even 16 months apart!

    Having my daughter start pre-school really helped for many reasons. 1 - she had something for herself - her own little life, all new things and teachers and friends who keep her very busy.

    2. Therapy for my boys was only about them, so she felt left out. Therapy goes much smoother and more focused with her not there. (sounds so mean, but it's true. Plus she always felt bad!)

    Anytime you want to talk or vent, let me know. I'll pm you my e-mail :) If I can figure out PM! 


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  • I relate, except it's my 3 year old with ASD and my 1.5 year old who is NT, and he gets screwed. I agree that if your resources allow, some care for DD is in order. "Childrens Day Out" is offered by many churches, and you don't need to be a member. Mine is so cheap, $5/hr (younger DS goes there for socialization and a couple precious kid-free hours a week for me). I'm getting ready to up older DS's preschool enrollment from 3 days to 5, which means younger DS will get my full attention more often. Can't wait.
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  • My kids are 18 months apart.  I heard recently that having kids less than two years apart is more about damage control than parenting until the little one turns two.  That very well described my situation. 

    I would bring in help of some kind for a couple of hours a day if you can afford it.  A mother's helper or a student looking for extra hours/volunteer time/internship.  Your local high school might have some leads.  That person can engage your older child while you focus on your younger one.

    Then, and this is very important, make sure that YOU get one on one time with your older child without little brother tagging along at least once a week.  You and big sister go out and do something just the two of you while dad watches little bro. 

    Best of luck.  I can say since big brother turned 4 things have gotten much, much easier in our home. 

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  • I have 2 with ASD (22 months apart) but our problems at that age were very similar.  I think what you are describing is more a problem of the ages than the ASD, although I'm sure that doesn't help especially with your guilt over the whole thing.  I definitely feel like I was just maintaining for most of the first 4 years of DS#1's life. It is so much smoother now.

    I agree a mother's helper, mommy's day out, etc. are good options for DD#1.  Or maybe even alternating playdates at a friend's house for her to give you and another mom a break?

    I also like to use visual timers (if you have an ipad/tablet they have apps that do this).  Mommy plays with DD for 10-15 minutes then DS for 10-15 minutes.  We also used to do a lot of schedules to show them that the preferred activity was coming. 

    If you DD is the "teacher" type, could you use her to help with play therapy?  So you make the dino go up the wall, then she does it, then DS does it and you all cheer after each turn.  That sort of thing.  Definitely only if she's interested, but my neighbors DD was obsessed with doing this with my younger DS, but she's a bossy little thing Wink

    When he's a little older making "stations" around my house with timers was also effective for when they don't want to do stuff together (i.e. fighting until I want to sell them both).  I do the same activities for both but age appropriate.  As an example, older DS might cut out shapes and younger DS works on cutting a line.  The other is doing a sensory activity independently with me checking in on the other side of the room.

     Don't forget a lot of play/therapy based things are fun and you can get them both involved.  I promise it will get easier with age.  Hang in there.

  • image ash2:
    DS and DD are only 16 months apart. That alone has its challenges, but with DS having ASD, I feel like there just isn't enough of me to go around. I know I need to spend more time with DS one on one, but it is so difficult with DD. She just turned 3 and wants me to play with her ALL.THE.TIME. And DS won't really engage when DD is around. I have to go in his room with him and shut his door to keep him in the room and keep DD out. However this is a huge problem since DD stands outside of the door and either cries or beats on it. She pretty much refuses to play by herself for more than a few minutes. I know she is very jealous of DS and I constantly worry that I'm not giving enough attention to both kids. I SAH with them, so it makes things very hard. DD will start preschool 2 days a week in the fall so that will help, but any suggestions on what I can do until then? TIA!

    I could have written this word for word! My DD is now almost 5 and I can say that it does get a little easier. For now, I would follow the previous suggestion and look for a new toy/activity that your DD can do alone. Explain that this particular toy/activity is a special thing that she has to do all by herself. Try to make it fun, make a big deal about how big she is to be able to do this without help. I have my DD sit at the kitchen table and paint with her watercolors. This can usually buy me 30 minutes or so alone with DS. Good luck!

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  • Thanks for all the suggestions! I will start trying some of them and see how it goes.
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  • I am not dealing with your specific age gap and issue, but I do institute a pretty strict "quiet time" for DS, which I started when he was about 3.  He gets 1 hr (and now he can even tolerate more) and we have a special timer that we set.  He goes in his room with a non-messy snack, and I help him get out any big boy toys he wants to play with (typically he beads necklaces, does lacing cards, puzzles, builds his special duplo/lego sets that DD messes up, etc).  And he gets to pick whatever CD he wants.  He usually bugs me once or twice but mostly he does fine for the whole hour.  Then after he has to put away all his toys (good for another 10-15 minutes) and then we do a fun activity together like an art project, as a sort of reward for doing his quiet time.  

     

    Best thing I ever did.  The days when I get no break kill me.

     

    I do also have a middle school neighbor girl come over sometimes (esp in the summer) for an hour or 2 and help.  Often she will take one or both kids to the park- it helps a lot to get them out of the  house!  I also have started doing weekly playdates with a 4 year old who lives around the block.  Every Tues afternoon, DS goes over there or the boy comes over here.  So that is a nice 2 hour chunk of time too.

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