This weekend I finally managed to take a couple of days off to spend some time with my boys and my mum who was visiting from NZ. After a crazy day at the show on Friday, it was a lovely change to head to the botanical gardens on Saturday. It was a great sensory experience as we explored paths and secret gardens, smelled all of the herbs in the herb gardens (we even found a plant that smelt like pineapple!), walked up and down hills and stairs, saw lots of beautiful, colourful flowers, spotted some gorgeous baby ducklings and had plenty of space for the boys to run and be loud. Besides the parking fees and obligatory ice-cream at the end, it is a fun, free day out and I totally recommend it. Jody
If your kids are anything like mine, they love all things slimy and squishy! These Slime Making Kits make it super easy for them to create the gooey stuff as everything is in the box and ready to mix. Stock up on a bunch for Christmas or you could even host a Slime Making Birthday Party – they kids would love it!
Find the kits on sale here for a limited time and while stocks last!
Not suitable for children under three years old. Keep out of their reach.
It is actually quite liberating to finally realise that you don’t have to ‘battle’ over every little thing. Taking a step back and thinking about what is really important and letting the other things go can really lower the stress levels. Like who cares if one of my boys eats his dinner upside down on the couch, at least he is eating right…? Or if one of them wants to wear shorts to school on a freezing day, so what? He might be cold or he might be fine but that was his choice and an argument about it isn’t worth it (and I can sneak a jumper into his bag anyway 😉). Lessening your demands and expectations on your kids also really lessens your own personal stresses. Before I get mad I really try to think to myself “Is this really that important?”, maybe my kids are having a tough day and getting angry because they forgot to empty their lunch boxes for the millionth time or I tripped over their shoes again as they weren’t put away is not helpful or healthy for any of us. And when they do do those things on the rare occasion without us asking them too, then it actually makes me extra happy! Pick less battles, Jody 🥰
Check out two of my cuties modelling the Ems for Kids Noise Cancelling Earmuffs! These can be used in a huge variety of situations – from the school playground to the big footy match and are adjustable to fit most kids head sizes up to teens. They are perfect for children who are very sensitive to noise and for those who get distracted easily to remove some of the background noise. Available in four colours to hopefully suit all tastes. See the full range here.
How to help your anxious child prepare and transition back to school after the holidays.
Heading back to school after a holiday break can be extremely hard on kids that have anxiety and I personally find that my kids’ behaviour starts to change quite a few days before as the anxiety slowly builds inside them. For many children, especially those who are autistic, school holidays mean a much needed break from the social, physical and mental demands on them that they have to endure throughout the term and the thought of having to go back to that after the feeling of freedom can be super stressful for them. In my house I see short tempers, resistance to do even the simplest tasks and lots of ‘sore tummies’ as their bodies and minds start to process the impending return to school D-Day.
I asked my beautiful online community for their top tips to help their anxious kids prepare and transition back to school after a break and had some wonderful ideas which I hope will be helpful to other families with their children.
“We make sure our son goes to the School Holiday program at the school at least a couple of times over the holidays. This way he still visits the school and playground and maintains that connection. Also going over his school timetable the weekend before they go back helps – so he remembers when he has PE and music etc.”
“I get my son back into his bedtime/ night-time routine. Use a back to school count down and I also drive him to school on the first day back.”
“We have big anxiety a day or so before. And we talk through and visual the first day back. And we make a list of the good things about school routine and scary things and then plan how manage the scary things.”
“Start many days before the end of holidays going to bed, and waking up, at the ‘usual time’. Using a visual schedule to follow the steps pictorially helps to reset, and get back into the humdrum. Kids can also help set out their clothes the night before they are due to return (visual reminder, yes – it’s back to school time!). Kids might also benefit from going ‘school supply’ shopping and purchasing some preferred snacks, etc to make it enjoyable and something to look forward to! My daughter gets a little canteen spending money for the first day back!”
“We have lots of chats and we try to do a few days of school schedules before school goes back…. we get up, get dressed and do some reading or writing (about half hr) to get her back into the swing of things. We spend the rest of the time having fun just a little work to get her used to the effort again.”
“Get back into practice with making lunches (giving them some independence) often it’s the shock of getting back into routine…. I often have our family timetable on our whiteboard so our girls can see what is ahead… even plan some lunch ideas and breakfast to take the stress out the following week…also even some ideas for snacks (it helps me as I then have bought enough things to cover bases). Both are visual, so it’s important to see what else is coming up….”
“The start of a new school year we visit school the week before school starts. My son is in to spy’s. So we look for ‘clues’ of things that are the same and different. We also have morning tea with the new teacher in a calm quiet space, I organise with the teacher for him to have some jobs to do whilst we are there (unwrap books, unpack resources). During term breaks we visit the uniform shop the week before and replace anything that needs replacing (sometimes it’s just more socks for his sister), and again investigate changes to the playground.”
“We use a countdown system it works great in our house. “M###s schools back in four days and so on”…
“Drive by or walk by the school. If they have animals offer to feed the school animals. Make sure you are early on the first day back. Could go in extra early to do some prearranged jobs. Lots of holidays play and catch ups with friends.”
“My son’s non-verbal but he has “tells” that show he’s anxious…for instance he fingers the left collar of his shirt. We keep cut up straws in the front pocket of his backpack to chew on (he loses them all the time). Any new environment we slowly phase him in, start with a little exposure then take him home. Next day increase the time. We keep his favourite books/iPad on hand for the first few weeks to distract him when he gets upset. Previously we’ve been allowed to enter the room before the other kids so that J gets confidence in his environment before adding other kids and noise. Oh and he doesn’t wear pyjamas….after his bath at night, he’s straight into normal (clean) clothes…this might change when he has to start wearing uniforms…it takes the stress out of getting dressed in the morning.”
Thank you so much to all of the wonderful parents and carers who shared their knowledge and ideas to try and help other families have a happy, stress free return to school!
Owner of Sensory Oasis for Kids and busy mum of three amazing Autistic boys
Visual Schedules are a great way for kids to see what is happening that day and what is expected. Magnetic Moves is an Australian owned and operated company that provides beautiful magnetic visuals.
MY BUSY DAY
My Busy Day is a colourful and fun chart designed to help your pre-school age child (3-5 yrs) have input into their day. Children can work with mum and dad to select the tiles which outline the key activities in their day. This way there are no surprises, no false expectations and no disappointments. Your child feels empowered and that their opinion and input is valued.
MY BUSY SCHOOL WEEK
Designed for the school age child to give them a pictorial view of what is happening in their school week from day to day. Events such as music lessons, library day, tuckshop, swimming and others can be noted in the weekly section at the top of the chart. Routines for getting ready for school or getting ready for bed can be checked off at the bottom of the chart. Reward stars offer parents a way to acknowledge achievements and positive behaviour throughout the day or week.
MY WEEKEND PACK
The ‘My Weekend Pack’ compliments the ‘My Busy School Week’ chart by offering 10 magnetic tiles that can be used on weekends such as visit friends, shopping, party and computer time.
Brumotactillophobia. It’s a real thing and can make meal times really difficult for some families. 🍽 Our Re-Play Divided Plates and Trays are the perfect solution to keeping all those foods and sauces separate, and best of all the entire range is made from recycled milk bottles so is good for the environment too! ♻️
Check out the entire Re-Play range here which also includes bowls, flat plates and tumblers in a rainbow of colours!
Finally! I now offer a fabulous, great quality, anti-burst range of Gym and Fitness Balls, yay! These bouncing buddies are available in four different sizes and come with a pump and and exercise chart to help you get the best out of your ball. They are great sensory input for sensory seekers, wonderful for working on core strength and a great alternative to a chair at your desk. Grab yours and have a ball today! (see what I did there ). Grab yours here now!
We are excited to announce that Sensory Oasis for Kids will be exhibiting at the fabulous My Special Child Expo in Geelong this year. This promises to be yet another amazing event by the My Special Child team with an amazing line up of guest speakers and exhibitors.
This will be a fantastic day out for parents, carers, educators, families and friends of an individual with a special need, learning difficulty or behavioural challenge.
This event sold out last year so get your tickets early for this one just in case..
Tickets are just $15, and under 12’s are free.
To book or for more information visit:
Hope to see you there!
Please note our store trading hours over the holidays so you don’t accidentally visit when we are not here. Online orders will be processed regularly. Happy holidays everyone!