What do you think of when you hear the word balance?
Perhaps it is work and personal-time related? Perhaps it is a balance between kids, home, activities and obligations?
In our life, it has different meanings. We have a school and down-time balance for both of our children. How much school work is enough? Is the homework too much and manageable? What do you do when your child can’t finish an assignment?
We continuously struggle with these questions related to school all the time. For our son, we want him to continue to develop his academics which includes spending extra time at home working on comprehension, reading and research to name a few.
In the past couple of years; however, we have realized how important it is for him to have his “me time” to do whatever he wants to do away from his busy school day. We have come to realize that it is not the obsessive amount of work that he may have to do to grasp a concept, it is simply does he understand the concept and how can it be reinforced without going overboard.
We also have to balance his free time. There has to be time for him to do whatever he wants to do and also time for the extra curricular activities that will build up his social skills and his life skills. This can be challenging as well. In the past, we have not (or should I say I have not) been good at doing this. I would sometimes over-schedule him to the sheer point of exhaustion just so that I could feel good that he had done this activity.
Really kind of silly when you think about it because it doesn’t matter if he misses scouts one night, or swimming or even hockey. In fact, it’s better to stay home if he’s not in the head space for something on that particular night.
We have also come to the realization that we are allowed to miss a night because one of us is not up to taking one of our kids somewhere. Growing up we were never allowed to go to an activity in the evening if we had missed school that day. But, in our house, that does not always happen. There are times when we do participate in an evening activity because we as a family face different daily challenges that sometimes can’t be avoided. I I am perfectly okay with doing an activity in the evening as long as there is no real serious illness. Sorry Mom!
I think as parents of kids on the spectrum we not only compare our children to typical children but we also compare them to other kids with ASD and what they are doing. At least I have done this in the past and this is not helpful for anyone, especially my son.
Just like all typical kids are different, all kids on the spectrum are different and are in need of different things at different times in their lives. Structure is good but also breaking away from structure can promote growth as well.
As our son is now in his teen years, balance is not all about school academics, but about what skills can I teach him to carry over to a productive fulfilled life and what things does he enjoy that he can possibly be successful making money at?
This has to balanced as well.
Balance can be challenging and your goals may shift from time-to-time as they should but hopefully we realize the importance of our child’s happiness because if they are happy, they will truly grow and thrive no matter what they do.