Melissa is a mum to a very incredible 3 year old little boy named Garrett. Garrett was born distinctively from most children, with a number of medical conditions such as Microtia (Small Ear), Cleft Lip, Goldenhar Syndrome, Duane’s Syndrome just to name few. The most recent diagnoses was in November 2019 with ASD (Autism) Level 3. This is why I chose to look for different options to help my son and time in not time out was one of those.
Understanding Our Little Boy Better
Garrett has had issues with speech due to his Cleft Lip and Alveolar Notch where he would always get frustrated because he couldn’t verbalise what he desired. Talk about the stress this would cause me, as a parent dealing with a meltdown which would go from 30 mins to an hour.
We always knew Garrett was different which is why we took him to a psychologist. His behavior at times can be so hard to manage not to mention his level of frustration with multiple different things. Garrett wasn’t able to understand if someone was upset or be able to respond like we as a society expect. He would laugh if someone was upset or if you showed him you were cranky he would smile.
Why I Chose Time In Not Time Out
Time Outs were such a common thing in our household as is in many, but if I am being honest I never felt comfortable about it; plus it wasn’t working, Garrett would hit himself in frustration and occasionally he would head butt the wall. The amount of days I would spend crying because I was at such as loss. Truth be told, I often felt if I was a horrible parent.
I took a hard look at the parent I wanted to be. In my mind, that was someone that would put their child in Time In instead of Time Out. I wanted to be the parent that gives their child skills to deal with everyday life and skills that they would be able to take with them, not only into their teen years, but adulthood as well. So I set out to find something that would assist Garrett in learning about emotions and learn how to self-regulate when he feels so many different emotions.
That’s when I found Generation Mindful. I was instantly drawn to their posters and the really cute feelings buddy. I placed an order for two sets. One to be used at home and the other to provide to the childcare which Garrett attends, because I know I am not the only one with a three-nager that has emotions going wild. I thought if Garrett can benefit then I think other kids can too.
The products arrived and I was so excited to set this space up for my son. I put the posters on the wall and even got him a bean bag chair so he can be comfortable in his space. He arrived home from childcare and the first thing he asked was “what’s this?” So we sat down and I explained what this space is.
Time In Not Time Out In Action
The day came where Garrett was pushing my buttons in a big way!!! I almost said time out but then said “Garrett let’s go to Time In.” He seemed confused at first, but he followed me over to the corner. He chose to sit on my lap instead of his bean bag and I spoke to him about what he was doing and how it made mummy feel.
I pointed to the picture that showed the emotion angry and explained why I was feeling like this. I asked Garrett why he was behaving the way he was to which I was surprised when he said he was really angry. So we spoke about how it was ok to feel angry but then do something to find our “Calm Body Space” and he picked from the poster take 3 deep breaths. I said, “Ok Garrett Smell the Flowers,” and he breathed in, “and blow out the candles,” and he blew out the air. This worked and we hugged and both left feeling happy which we also spoke about.
Time In Not Time Out Is Now A Regular Space For Us
Our Time in corner is now a regular space we visit in our home and not just when he is in threenager mode. Before bed we discuss a different feeling on the chart and what it means. He also holds his feeling buddy which has a different feeling attached and will squeeze the emotion he is feeling and pack it away.
I know how hard being a parent is and it becomes just that little bit harder when your little one has special needs. Times are now changing and we are likely to be at home more, so it might be time to spend the time with our little ones and teach them about emotions and the many different ways we can deal with them.
I am now a more confident parent, no longer having the fears that I am a terrible parent. I am also building such an incredible bond with my child. For a child with ASD to understand emotions, is a pretty big thing. Enjoy the time with your little ones because they won’t be little for long and I know I did not want my child spending that time in Time Out without really gaining anything from it.
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