What should you do with your child with Autism who has to go into a coronavirus quarantine or stay in place order? Do you have a plan for your autistic children during the midst of this COVID19 outbreak? Keep reading to help you through these uncharted waters.
Schools everywhere are shutting down for weeks at a time, some until next school year. Even those that don’t have this issue yet, the coronavirus is causing many families to take voluntary self-quarantine measures. For children with Autism, the covid19 quarantine measures are a drastic change from their daily routine. Combine that with necessities being cleared from shelves, parents are left wondering what to do when their autistic child has to go into a coronavirus quarantine.
Autism, Coronavirus, and Quarantine – How to Manage the Daily Routine
One of the first pieces of advice is to create a new routine for your autistic child at home. This routine should mimic a combination of current school and home routines. Here are some key points for a schedule during the COVID 19 quarantine with your autistic child:
- Wake up time should be slightly later than usual, if possible. Allowing your child with Autism to get their much-needed sleep will help with recovering from any illness. It will also help with their emotions as the lack of sleep many children receive throughout the school year can cause additional emotional disturbances.
- If your child received a school breakfast, try to provide the same choices (or lack of options) that the school routinely gives. If your child eats breakfast at home, stick to your routine food choices. Minimal changes to foods are ideal, if possible.
- Hygiene routines need to stay the same. These include teeth brushing, hair brushing, showers, dressing, making the bed, and any other steps your autistic child has other than the school items.
Autism & Coronavirus Quarantine Daily Schedule:
Come up with a schedule that works for your child with themed activity times. These include art, reading, science, math, and free play. Here are a few ideas resources we have found that are available during the Coronavirus Quarantine that your child with Autism can enjoy:
As a public health precaution due to COVID-19, many zoos have closed temporarily to the public. Zoos across the nation have started offering webcams of the animals so that the public can see life behind the scenes. This activity would be a fantastic planned activity for your autistic child. According to their age/development level, you can discuss what you see with them or have them tell you about the animals.
Go to a Museum Online:
While we cannot take our children with Autism out during the COVID19 quarantine, many museums are offering online tours! These fun activities are great for autistic children because they can be themselves while learning about new and exotic locations. These 12 Museums from around the world offer amazing tours.
Art therapy is an excellent resource for autistic children. While you may not be able to see a therapist during the coronavirus quarantine, your child with Autism can still enjoy the great benefits of art. Here are a few great activities they can enjoy during your scheduled art time:
Scholastic Free Education Courses:
Scholastic set up a “Learn From Home” to help during the school closures. This free online education program is for all ages. Each lesson is built around a thrilling, meaningful story or video.
Children can do the lessons on their own or with their families. This flexible learning experience is perfect for children with Autism during the Coronavirus quarantine.
While you cannot take your child to the park or other outside activities, there is plenty you can do at home. If you are not in a forced in-home quarantine during COVID19, you can play in your backyard. Having fresh air can do wonders for the human body, and let’s face it, our children need to run off some of that built up energy.
If you are stuck indoors with your autistic child during the Coronavirus quarantine, there is still plenty you can do. A fun round of hide and seek will keep them moving. Youtube also offers a ton of free yoga and indoor exercise videos for kids.
Playing interactive video games is also a fun way to get your heart pumping and energy out. Here are a few of our top picks:
Scheduled Time to Facetime Peers:
While we don’t want to encourage a digital addiction in our children, social interaction is critical. While social distancing is in practice, Facetiming a friend can do wonders for your child with Autism during coronavirus quarantine.
If your child does not have access to an iPhone, apps such as google duo and skype can do the same thing. If video calls aren’t an option, a traditional phone call will work as well. Just make sure to monitor your child while using these devices, and discuss internet safety with your child.
Your child with Autism needs time to just be a child during this COVID19 quarantine. Make sure to schedule time in their day to do their preferred activities.
While family time doesn’t traditionally happen during the school day, social interactions are apart of schooling. Spending time together can help them practice their social skills and offer family bonding time. Here are some great ideas for family bonding:
- Watching Movies Together. Amazon Prime offers a HUGE selection. They are offering a 30-day free trial right now!
- Playing board games can be a blast! Check out our family game night for some great ideas. You can order all of those games through amazon as well!
- Bake cookies and other fun treats together
- Learn a new craft such as sewing, knitting, or crochet.
- Read together or listen to an audiobook.
When all possible, do try to keep lunchtime and options the same as when they are at school. One way you can change up the routine for your child with Autism during the Coronavirus Quarantine is by having them help prepare their meals. Doing this is a great way to practice life skills.
For many, dinner time routines will stay the same. For families that traditionally eat out or order food, though, this may change. One of the best ways to make sure you have enough food and a schedule set up is to meal plan. Check out this free freezer meal planning guide to make things a little easier.
One problem that may come up with preparing meals is access to food. During a Coronavirus quarantine, your child with Autism will still want their preferred foods. A great option would be to have groceries delivered. Instacart offers free delivery on your first order.
For families that receive food stamps, Walmart and Amazon are both now accepting EBT on their online orders. Walmart offers a drive-up service, so you do not have to leave your car. Amazon offers delivery to your door.
If you do not currently have prime service, Amazon Prime is just $5.99/month for qualifying customers in select U.S. government assistance programs such as holders of the EBT card. Enjoy the benefits of Prime at almost 50% off the regular monthly price!
Bed Time Routine:
Keeping the same bedtime routine is vital. Sleeping in only helps if you go to bed at their usual time. Small deviations from the regular schedule should be no more than a 1-hour difference. If you are struggling with sleep, check out this great article on helping autistic children sleep better.
Make sure that their hygiene routine stays the same as well. While your child may not get as dirty as usual, a bath or shower can be a calming experience for many.
Autism and Coronavirus Quarantine – Managing the Daily Routine
We hope that these tips on how to manage coronavirus quarantine with an autistic child bring you a little comfort during these hard times. Make sure to check out our free autism resources that include visual schedules and subscribe to our newsletter below. Having access to a community of other parents can make a huge difference as well! Check out our Autism Parenting Facebook group, and make sure to follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!