Remember if you are upset or angry, your child may not be able to change their feelings and will mirror yours.

  1. Take a break if you can’t be calm. Try and model calmness. It is extremely hard to move from a high anxiety state and have a different emotion than what is being modeled. 
  2. Give lots of movement throughout the day. Children should note sit for long periods. Exercise whenever possible.
  3. Sleep at regular times with regular bedtime schedules
  4. Don’t over-schedule. Give yourself enough time when you can.
  5. Use a visual schedule (See our Free Visual Supports Course for more information).
  6. Be aware of transitions that might be anxiety producing.  Take extra time and give extra information. “In 5 minutes, we are going to move from eating breakfast to cleaning up the dishes.”
  7. When transitioning from doing high energy excited activities to low energy calm activities, help your child’s brain make this transition. Use deep breathing or a quick yoga transition
  8. Try and use positive language. For instance, “Look what we get to do today.” rather than “We have to do these things.” 
  9. Model two-three things that were positive about your day
    • Have child list two good things about their school day
    • Write or draw them down in a journal together
  10. Show genuine interest in your child’s thoughts and interests
  11. Praise bravery. If your child did something that was difficult, tell them how proud you are. “I know talking to the cashier was hard. I’m really proud of how brave you were.”
  12. Breathing: Why?
    • Breathing exercises can help you relax, because they make your body feel like it does when you are already relaxed.
    • Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. This is because when you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. The brain then sends this message to your body. Those things that happen when you are stressed, such as increased heart rate, fast breathing, and high blood pressure, all decrease as you breathe deeply to relax.
    • 4-7-8 Breathing:
      • This exercise also uses belly breathing to help you relax. You can do this exercise either sitting or lying down.
      • To start, put one hand on your belly and the other on your chest as in the belly breathing exercise.
      • Take a deep, slow breath from your belly, and silently count to 4 as you breathe in.
      • Hold your breath, and silently count from 1 to 7.
      • Breathe out completely as you silently count from 1 to 8. Try to get all the air out of your lungs by the time you count to 8.
      • Repeat 3 to 7 times or until you feel calm.
      • Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.

Are you trying to figure out what’s best for your autistic child? Family + Knowledge = Power!  Parents can address their child’s communication, educational, and behavioral needs after learning the strategies taught in Knowledge Counts Online.

Our online school teaches parents of autistic children what research recommends and what informed professionals use.  Try out our Free Visual Supports & Strategies Course and then visit all of our courses at: