You likely have a strategic approach to communicating with your special needs child. Whether you emphasize non-verbal cues or engage with them indirectly, your quality time with them may be a challenge, but it is meaningful, nonetheless. If you want to expand your options for communication, here are a few fun family bonding activities to try.
Watch Their Favorite Movie Together
Your special needs child may be non-verbal and have a difficult time talking with you. Instead of putting pressure on them to communicate during quality time, give them the connection of your presence. No child wants to be alone, and special needs children need secure attachments in their life. Watch your kid’s favorite movie or television show together. This action shows them you care about their interests and desire to connect with them in meaningful ways.
Depending on your child’s age, they may still be at the stage of nightly bedtime stories. Read to your child and explore imaginary worlds together. Don’t worry about how well they engage with the story or pay attention. Instead, focus on establishing a fun routine with them and spending time speaking to them.
When your child is older and can read on their own, read in the same room together. You can read the same book or simply spend that quality time quietly in each other’s presence. Like watching their favorite movie, your physical presence speaks volumes that words may not easily communicate.
Explore Your Family History
Many special needs make it difficult for children to connect directly with what you say. So, instead of “talking at” your child about your family, try learning about your family history together. Use tactile items such as family trees and coloring pages to bring the story to life. Encourage your child to ask questions about the people you discuss and find ways to make your family history more meaningful to their life.
Create New Family Traditions
Family traditions are fun and quirky activities you do to strengthen your bond with one another. Whether you have family traditions around the holidays or daily ones before each meal, the way you celebrate your connection as a family unit matters.
Consider implementing new family traditions throughout the year and have your children help create them. In fact, you can even ask them what they’d like to do for an upcoming holiday. These traditions can range from big to small activities, but they are always the perfect way to implement your faith in your family life. For example, you can pray before meals and rotate who says the prayer, offering your children the opportunity to pray on their own.
Try a few of these fun family bonding activities and see which ones work best for your child. If you aren’t sure about one of these approaches, adjust it for your child’s specific needs. At the end of the day, all that matters is that you show your child you care for them and want to be with them.