Autism Therapies Parents Can Try At Home

 

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Truthfully, it is quite expensive to take care of a child who is diagnosed with autism. Despite having high-quality insurance and a safe school neighborhood, you’ll need to pay high rates for everything from camping activities down to babysitting. Therapy might be another added cost, particularly when most of the best therapists do not consider insurance.

Luckily, though, there are numerous prominent and safe therapies that parents can try doing by themselves with much less cost in money and time. Plus, therapies offered by parents can be equally potent compared to those given by licensed therapists. Most importantly, these simple therapies can encourage parents to connect with their kids while learning skills and abilities. Surely, not all parents are willing or capable of managing their child with autism, but if you are one parent who hopes to save money while spending time with your child and helping him deal with autism, it’s definitely worth trying.

Many parents can begin with these forms of therapies by studying through books, videos, or online classes. Some prefer to work with a licensed therapist until they are fine with leading the therapy. Even though parents may decide to do the therapy with a therapist’s assistance, they could also practice doing the therapy for their autistic child in between sessions, consequently strengthening their own skills and saving money at the same time.

Here are some common therapies that parents can try doing at home.

Floor Time

Floortime is a wonderful technique comparable to play therapy, although it is grounded on the concept that parents must improve communication. Meaning that through floor time strategies, parents can urge their child to join in back and forth verbal or non-verbal interactions. This is something that may be very difficult for individuals who are on the spectrum.

Play Therapy

This type of therapy is precisely what the word describes – learning by playing. For kids with autism, the objective of play therapy is to establish social connection and communication and eventually improve your child’s capacity to learn different activities and figurative play.

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You can begin the process by bonding with your beloved child through basic hunt-and-tickle games, swinging, sliding, wriggling into a tube, or bubble blowing. As his skills are enhanced, you may start focusing on collaborative games, make-believe games, or turn-taking games.

Applied Behavior Analysis

ABA is frequently known as the gold standard of ASD therapy because therapists have very exact and quantifiable objectives and accomplish teaching skills. It is possible to enroll in courses and be licensed in ABA. Still, it is also possible to do a short training online using ABA strategies from home through programs that are available online or face-to-face.

Furthermore, it is also likely to utilize the main ideas behind ABA in several settings without any form of official training. This is because the main principles of ABA are quite simple and instinctive.

  • Break down the skills into smaller and easier steps (for example, get your toothbrush, apply toothpaste)
  • Select the skill that you wish to teach.
  • Demonstrate the initial step of the process. You might have to work together sometimes. When you’re certain that your child comprehends the process by himself, you may ask him to do it.
  • Suppose your child does the task efficiently, compliment and reward him with simple things that he likes. If he does not follow, ask him to do it again. If need be, do the training again to be certain that your child comprehends the words you’re using to describe the action you’re asking him to follow.
  • When your child succeeds with the initial step, educate him on the second one.
  • If your child requires assistance with connecting the steps, offer him a visual image like a chart that shows the instructions of the skills you’re trying to teach.

Speech Therapy

Speech therapy is a complicated area, but there are communication and speech therapy areas that parents can offer with only a little education. A great way to start is to visit online platforms that offer speech therapy training that is particularly formulated for parents to utilize when teaching their autistic kids. They are also efficient strategies that help connect with your child.

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy

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A noteworthy minority of kids with ASD has hostile behaviors that make it tough to get out of the house and participate in regular activities. PCIT is meant for kids with violent or aggressive behaviors and can be done by parents who consultants teach. Experts agree that to interfere with a cycle of mounting unpleasant behaviors among parents and children, the parents practice incorporating precise setting restrictions within the scope of an imposing relationship.

Parent-child interaction therapy postulates that a robust, safe relationship is needed for building effective restriction-setting and discipline consistency, leading to enhanced mental and emotional health for both the child and the parent.

 

 

 

How Play Therapy Helps Manage Autism

 

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Even horsing around and bouncing beds can have tremendous therapeutic gains for children diagnosed with autism spectrum. Add structure and some guidelines and transform it into a more proper play. You will have a great tool for creating and enhancing everything from coordination, motor, social, listening, and communication skills.

Play entails interacting with other kids and adults in a competitive and supportive manner, conveying needs, understanding the intent of others, creating strategies, and switching turns. All of these seem to be the most suitable exercise for a child trying to learn these skills – which is actually the entire concept of play therapy. What’s great about it is that it does not often require the supervision of a licensed therapist. It just needs a parent, brother or sister, friends, and significant others who work together and coordinate their efforts to gain the best out of home and playground play.

Non-Directive And Directive Play Therapy

Non-directive therapy is a more casual and unstructured form of play. The child with Autism Spectrum Disorder is given the freedom to guide himself with fewer restrictions and solve puzzles by himself.

Directive therapy, on the other hand, is simply the opposite. It’s more structured and guided, and the parents or the therapist encourages the child more frequently and straightforwardly and could make recommendations or attempt to navigate the session along.

Some play therapy techniques, such as floor time, often utilize both directive and non-directive methods. Sessions frequently start with little direction or none at all, permitting your ASD child to choose the first activity. Throughout the session, the parent or therapist might prompt him to select a plaything or communicate or suggest. This makes the therapy more directive.

Floor Time

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One method of play therapy – often entails the child, parents, and therapist all interacting – playing – together.

Floortime therapy sessions have primary objectives that are created to achieve:

  • The ASD child dynamically interacts with his parent or therapist.
  • The child demonstrates that he understands the rules of the game. For example, he will properly pass the ball rather than putting it inside his mouth.
  • The child is aware of his own needs and wants in terms of the game being played.
  • Mutual communication is accomplished.
  • The child pacifies himself if he gets disappointed.
  • The child gestures to convey his needs and wants, which can be as basic as handing a toy to his therapist.

These objectives are attained in several ways during the entire session. Initially, the child is allowed to start the session. The therapist and parents also position themselves on the floor to play with the child. The floor should already have toys and games are prepared so that they can play together. These things can be placed before the session starts so that the child can select what he wants to play with.

Blowing bubbles is commonplace to begin. Almost all children also love moving toys – those that make sounds, light up, or vibrate. Consider pop-ups or robots. Things that actively engage and bring life to toys are always a bonus.

As the therapy progresses, the parents or therapist will hand new activities or toys to the child, maybe swapping or putting in playthings to make the session a little harder and more dynamic. For instance, a box can be introduced to the child as he is instructed to place blocks of different figures into the matching holes of the box. Previously, though, the child might have just been playing with the blocks alone.

Home Play Therapy

If you are a parent, you should know that you play a crucial role in your child’s therapy. You are not merely an active joiner during the play sessions, but you also have the choice to engage in play therapy in the comfort of your own living room. Numerous play therapists can work with parents on introducing play therapy strategies that are convenient to use at home. There are also several books and video programs that assist parents in making home play therapy possible.

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The most crucial things to keep in mind when doing play therapy with your child at home include the following:

  • Be sure to provide comments on what your child does, even if he does not respond.
  • Always focus on what your child is doing.
  • Supplement small and simple actions. If you play with toy motorcycles and your child is driving them around, try making running motorcycle sound effects.
  • Do not forget that engaging in play therapy begins with baby steps. Do not push them too far, and always adjust to your child’s present level.

Play therapy can be a brilliant chance to interact with your ASD child and strengthen your relationship with him, as well as an opportunity for your child to develop valuable social skills continually.

 

 

What Autistic Kids Need More Than Counseling

It pains me to admit that I still have relatives who do not understand autism. That is especially true because I have a younger cousin who has this condition.

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Let’s call the little cousin by the name of John. My aunt and her husband separated when John was only seven years old. It was such a messy breakup that my grandparents decided to step in and look after my cousin so that my aunt could work full-time and build her life back up.

When my aunt chose to go overseas to work as a doctor, John was left in the care of my grandparents. They sent him to the same private school I went to; they got the best tutors for him because his mother previously said that he was not very academic. The only problem was that John was still failing as all he wanted to do was play on one particular swing, watch his toy train move, or both.

At the time, I was only ten years old. My parents and I often went to my grandparents’ house for a Sunday BBQ dinner. Since John and I were closer in age than our other cousins, we usually played together. Oh, let me clarify that — I usually tried playing with him, but he did not always pay attention to me.

It would have been understandable if I made John play with my Barbie dolls or tea sets. However, because I knew that boys were not into those, and I wanted to befriend him, I would ask him to jump with me on the trampoline, do cannonballs at the pool, etc. But no response — he seemed too happy to be by himself.

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Then, I would sometimes have his classmates talk to me about how John did not even know the answer to 0 + 1. Even though I was still young, I knew that’s not normal, so I told my father, a child psychologist, about it. It was not to snitch on John but to find a way to help him because I loved my little cousin.

Would you like to know how my grandparents and aunt reacted when they learned about it? Gramps and Granny went to the school to bribe John’s teachers. They were supposed to become John’s new tutors. During exams or quizzes, the teachers were supposed to help him answer all the questions. For instance, if it were a four-choice question, they would have to eliminate two choices to make it easier for John to answer them. They said, “Nothing is wrong with John other than he could not keep up with the other kids academically. We know he’s a smart boy. He just needs time.”

When my father was not satisfied with my grandparents’ reaction, he decided to call John’s mother. Before making the call, Dad sounded so sure that his sister would side with him and want to have her child diagnosed with he suspected as autism. After all, she was a doctor. If anyone would understand how mental disorders worked, she would.

Thus, you could imagine my father’s shock when my aunt ended their conversation abruptly. Dad had not even begun to talk about his observations during our Sunday get-togethers, and my aunt was already upset. She said the same thing that my grandparents did, “Give John time. He’s only a little slow for his age, but it does not mean that he has a long-term condition.”

Seven Years After That

John got through elementary with his teachers making shortcuts for him left and right. It continued even in middle school, especially since my grandparents and aunt decided to keep him in the same private school. In reality, though, they could not take John anywhere else because no other school was willing to accept bribes from parents or guardians.

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What happened to John, you might ask? He was breezing through life. He developed a somewhat cocky attitude, which he would mask around the family, but I heard all about it through friends. They told me that John barely attended classes. He was always at the basketball court, shooting hoops, or watching other kids play. Sometimes, John would let the teachers persuade him to return to the classroom; other times, he would ignore them completely.

Despite such odd activities, my aunt and grandparents still believed that John’s actions were normal. Their new alibi was, “John is a growing teenager. It seems typical for teenagers to act like a rebel sometimes.” But once John graduated from middle school, they faced a dilemma because the private school did not have grades 11 and 12. Meaning, John had to enroll in another school.

Facing Issues

The closest high school to my grandparents’ house was known for doing psych evaluations to potential enrollees. John managed to get one foot in instantly because Gramps was a former principal there, but the school psychologist voiced her concerns about John after the first interview. She practically said that she did not know why John was never sent to a SPED school, where he needed to be.

I was accompanying my grandparents at the time, so I saw how shocked they were. They also seemed offended, saying that John was “normal.” But it was the psychologist’s turn to get surprised as she found out that my cousin had never seen a mental health professional until now. She suggested that my cousin skip at least a year of schooling and receive proper diagnosis and treatment before it’s too late.

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Again, my grandparents took offense to that. Granny, still in denial, said that there’s nothing wrong with John. And if there was, he could go to counseling after classes. However, the psychologist calmly noted that continuing to deny that John showed symptoms of autism would hurt his future further. She said that John needs acceptance more than anything. “I could not fathom how hard it must be for you, but you must accept that he is not ready to keep up with the other kids. He needs proper mental assistance and care,” the psychologist added.

There was an extended family meeting that night. I did not join it, but I heard John wailing from the other room, saying that he wanted to go to school in his garbled speech. Luckily, my aunt and grandparents knew what’s best for him this time.

After getting diagnosed with low-functioning autism, John got enrolled in occupational therapy for a year to help him handle life situations more. My aunt also finally agreed to send him to a SPED school instead of bribing his way through high school to prepare him for the future.

It had only been two more years, but we could all see a change in John’s behavior. He was more attentive and more curious than ever. He had better control of his emotions, too.

That high school interview was John’s lifesaver that his mother and our grandparents never knew he needed.

Mental Health 101: Tips For Effective Teletherapy Sessions For People With Autism

With the continuous advancement of technology, a lot of sectors have tried to maximize its use. One particular area where digital has become beneficial is in mental health, mainly through teletherapy. 

Teletherapy has become huge in this world. More and more people resorted to this approach due to its accessibility, cost-effectiveness, and preference. Even individuals under the autism spectrum tried this service, but many continue to debate whether this is advisable or not.

To ensure that teletherapy’s utmost effectiveness for people with autism, here are some tips you can apply as a parent. 

Limit Distractions

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Keep in mind that those individuals under the autism spectrum are very sensitive when it comes to distractions. Sensory-rich environments easily capture their attention. With this, they instantly lose their focus. 

Therefore, one way to ensure that the teletherapy session goes smoothly is to discuss in a calming and quiet space. Do not put them in a room with people talking and full of play devices. You may also try considering the colors in your area. For instance, bright colors distract those with autism easily, and they tend to stare at it once in a while. 

Do not also put them in an area where they can hear the television or radio. Make sure that they are in a quiet room. If there are different noises,  they are likely to be distracted and unable to take in their sessions fully. 

Include Teletherapy In Their Schedule

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Believe it or not, those with autism want their schedules organized. Their minds get so chaotic if they are faced with the unknown. Therefore, you need to disclose that teletherapy is a part of their schedule at the start of the day. This way, they get to prepare their minds and set aside their expectations. 

Do not forget to remind them of the schedule throughout the day. If the session is in the late afternoon, make sure to run through their schedule again at lunch. 

Brief The Therapist With Your Child’s Likes And Dislikes

As a parent, you must brief your therapist with your child’s likes and dislikes before the session. Through this, it will be easier for them to know what approach to use to their client. It is essential to keep this in mind since children with autism may have a hard time going back to their focus once they get irritated with whom they’re talking. 

For instance, several teletherapy platforms offer stickers as a way to engage their clients. Some even show brief videos of cartoons that will help them gain the child’s trust and get their full participation. Rest assured that therapists have the right knowledge of what is suitable for your child. 

Understand The Game Plan

As a parent, it is your responsibility to do the follow-through after the session. Unlike face-to-face talks, teletherapy might not capture your child’s emotions fully. It might be hard for them to open up in front of the computer.

Therefore, there is only so much the therapist can do. They can only set the foundation, but building the path towards good mental health is in your hands. 

The best way to go about this is to ask your therapist about the direction they want to go. Then, let them instruct you how you can help at home. Make sure to continue collaborating with them to ensure the progress of your child. Some of the things that you should know include the following: 

  • Is there something that you should change in your parenting skills?
  • Should you push with visual or conversational therapy?
  • Are there any special care needs that should be implemented in the household?
  • How will you empower the child?
  • Should you go out of your way when it comes to task-specific praises?
  • How will you go about giving them directions?

These are just some starter questions. Make sure to understand more in-depth on how you can assist your child outside teletherapy. 

Fix The Technicals

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We can’t avoid technical issues when it comes to technology. The only way to reduce the possibility of messing up is to be proactive in these issues.

First of all, determine the best spot in the room for your Wi-Fi connection. If you feel that the connection is a bit erratic, you may opt to connect it to your hotspot or use an ethernet cable. Disconnecting issues will only make your child lose his or her focus. 

Also,  make sure that the monitor is on eye level. Always remember that socialization is critical for people with autism. To establish their trust with the one they’re talking to, they should be able to make eye contact and see their facial expressions. If they don’t fully see their therapist, it would be difficult for them to connect. 

Consider using a computer stand to secure your webcam is at eye level. This will ensure that their socialization skills are at its best. 

This new therapy setup may work wonders, especially with the realities that we have now. However, to make it more effective, the parents’ support is of the utmost importance.

 

Understanding The Role Of The Family In The Development Of A Child With ASD

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Raising a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD may be a challenging task for some families. However, the child’s development growing up will be primarily affected by how the family will show their love while they raise and nurture him. Thus, the role of the parents, siblings, and relatives in the child’s life is indispensable.

Challenges In Raising A Child With ASD

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental condition in a person that persists and affects interaction, behavior (restricted or repetitive), and communication (speech and nonverbal). Symptoms vary among people, including the severity – therefore, a person with ASD may exhibit different behavioral patterns than others.

The common signs and symptoms of autism are: avoiding eye contact and wants to be left alone, having trouble talking about their own feelings or that of other people, and having difficulty in expressing their needs using words or movement.

It is also common for them to not look at objects when it is pointed at by another, or to have trouble in adapting to changes in their routine, among others.

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With the signs mentioned above and symptoms, indeed, raising a child with ASD might be a daunting undertaking. The child will need special attention, extra love and care from his or her parents and other family members, and proper medical treatment.

Fortunately, early detection of ASD is possible with the right professional intervention. ASD typically appears in childhood, with symptoms manifesting as early as 2 to 3 years old. Quick and timely medical diagnosis and treatment will aid in reducing the symptoms of ASD; hence, greatly influencing the future of the child.

Love, Acceptance, And Support

The family is the foundation of society. Parents should provide the best for their children, and nurture them with their love and care. The quality of family life inside the home significantly affects the development of any person – especially those suffering from any sickness or afflictions.

First, families must be accepting of the child’s situation. Unconditional, whole-hearted acceptance is needed to move forward and prepare for the future of the child. Breaking the stigma on ASD and other disorders must start within the four walls of the house to foster a welcoming atmosphere that extends outside of the home.

Acceptance must also be enduring, even as the child gets older. It means that he or she will most likely have difficulty finding a job to support himself or herself. Even in the future, he or she will need extra love and understanding.

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Parents can make a tremendous impact on the child. Parents must learn how to interact with the child appropriately. In communicating with the child, adults must include comments or actions that will pique the current interest and behavior of the child.

This strategy is necessary to facilitate the child’s focus or attention. It is only one of the recommended courses of action to be taken by parents.

Further, it cannot be stressed enough that love and support are vital in providing the best possible life for a child with autism. As the saying goes, there is power in love. Love can heal. For a child, a mother’s or father’s love and affection – even the lack thereof – will mold him into the person he will be in the future.

Giving What’s Best For The Child

The cognitive and social development of the child must remain the top priority. Hence, parents need to provide equitable access to education for the child with ASD. Finding an excellent learning environment benefits the child with ASD in the long run. 

Parents must choose a school with the right facilities, resources, and teaching methods. Various schools cater to the needs of families with special needs children. In these schools, there are programs offered that fit the specific needs of an individual.

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As much as it is a medical condition, families must support their child in finding proper treatment from professionals. Parents must seek medical guidance from health professionals such as clinical psychologists, therapists, and others, to monitor them.

Therapies and other forms of interventions aim to give the child with ASD a chance at living his or her best possible life. Support – financially, emotionally, even spiritually – will help yield better results. 

Parents, loved ones, even friends, must be advocates of children with autism. As the world is getting more complex and advanced, often the sick, marginalized, and oppressed, tend to get left behind. Therefore, as important as it is to create a warm abode for a child with ASD, it is also necessary to amplify advocacy to erase the stigma in society.

Advocacy may start in the classroom, the community, the church, and beyond. Awareness and acceptance are vital to foster a healing environment for everyone, especially those with disorders.

Final Thoughts

Without a doubt, raising a child requires a tremendous amount of effort. Parents must strive to provide the best for them. More so, children with ASD will need the unconditional love, support, and sacrifice of parents – or even more.

Things Not To Say To An ADHD Child

The 2019 parenting seminar emphasizes that there is no right or wrong process for handling a child with ADHD. However, there are specific things that parents should consider. Managing a child with ADHD doesn’t follow a parental norm since it requires a significant amount of tolerance, understanding, and unconditional love. So here are the things parents should entirely try not to say to a child with ADHD.

“You’re Not Doing Anything Right”

There are instances when most parents will suddenly experience an emotional outburst. That is because there are moments that they will breakdown and won’t handle all the exhaustion of life. At times like this, it is vital not to throw any attention on an ADHD child for the fact that parents will soon begin to see several faults.

 

“Why Can’t You Listen?”

Honestly, it is not that an ADHD child intentionally tries not to listen. The thing is, the kid sometimes can’t focus, and parents should always remember that. A child with a mental disability cannot easily comprehend some instructions. That is why the child needs his or her parents to be patient and more understanding.

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“You Will Never Learn”

For most parents who are experiencing negative emotions, they sometimes cannot control their anger will soon lose compassion for their child. In unfortunate instances, these parents begin to lose confidence in everything their child does. With that, they pay less and less attention to the child’s capabilities.

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“You Don’t Need To Try Harder.”

Wrong! The more parents try to make their child feel incapable, the more the kid will suffer from emotional distress. The child will think that he will never be good enough because his parents cannot encourage him. Even a child with ADHD must understand that achieving great things in life requires hard work.

Why Quarantine Isn’t Too Bad For Autism Kids

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“The quarantine is not a walk in the park for adults and children alike.” That’s what the other moms in my circle of friends have been telling me ever since we have all been ordered to stay at home last March.

At first, the children were excited about the prospect of not going to school earlier than expected. They even showed interest in the online classes that the teachers organized for them. However, it eventually sunk in their minds that they could no longer go on play dates, swim with friends, or at least visit the local park. When they could have fun outdoors again, it would depend on when the experts could find a cure or vaccine for the coronavirus.

Of course, this new reality saddens me, too. I can sympathize with those kids and parents whose spring and summer plans have been ruined by the pandemic. Despite that, my son is not as profoundly affected as them.

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Perhaps it is because he is in the autism spectrum, which entails that he perceives situations differently from others. Although we do not leave the house for weeks on end, I don’t hear him complaining about it. My son is happy as long as he can play with toys.

If I can be more honest than that, I must admit that the quarantine may not be too bad for kids with autism.

They Have Little Things To Do At Home

My son transitioned to regular school from SPED last year. My husband and I were glad about it, but my child seemed to have a tough time coping with his new school and classmates. There was also a lot of homework and quizzes, which were dizzying for him.

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Now, because of the quarantine, my son needs to attend classes online. But unlike before, his assignments come far in between. The teachers cannot give group projects to the students, either. Thus, my son no longer feels rushed to handle schoolwork.

They Don’t Need To Get Out Of Comfort Zone All The Time

Most kids with autism have trouble letting people in their lives, and my son is not exempted from it. In truth, that’s how we found out several years ago that he has autism. While the kids were running around or singing along with the class, he would stay in his seat and not pay attention to anyone else.

Since then my little boy has gotten used to getting out of his comfort zone, but I can tell he feels exhausted from it sometimes. Thankfully, he can take a break from that until the next school year.

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They Don’t Get Bombarded With COVID-19 Updates

Furthermore, it is ideal for my autistic child to be at home these days because he cannot get bombarded with COVID-19 updates. That typically happens at school when the teachers and other kids gossip about what’s happening in and out of the country. If the classes continued regularly, it might be too overwhelming for my son.

Meanwhile, since my child gets homeschooled, I can relay information to him little by little. This way, he can understand why the coronavirus exists and how we can all avoid catching it.

Final Thoughts

Although the quarantine seems favorable for my child’s case, it does not mean that I don’t wish for the coronavirus to go away. I merely intend to look for the positive effects of this order to our family, and it turns out that it has done us a few good things. After all, if you keep on being cynical about it, you may not be able to use this opportunity to bond with your loved ones.