My little man, Steve is a creature of habit. Well, more like a structured individual who needs routines to be successful. That’s more Autism speak now isn’t it.
Steve has been out of the “homework” routine for a while now so a NEW routine has taken hold.
The NEW routine would be do the bare minimum homework at daycare so it is done then when Mom picks me up I get “screen-time” (his most preferred item) until 7:30pm when it is VIDEO SCREEN CUT OFF TIME.
That NEW routine was working just dandy for us all. Until it wasn’t.
Realizing lately that he’s not being pushed enough (see the post about pushing him here: https://adventureswithbrooklynandsteve.wordpress.com/2015/04/13/time-to-push/) I decided this NEW routine needed to go back to the OLD routine. The old routine was 1) Screen-time in the car on the way home from daycare if had earned it with good behavior at daycare. 2) No TV or screens of any kind until at least 30 more minutes of homework if he had it or reading had been done. 3) Video Game/Video Screen Time until 7:30 if all the above was completed. 4) Watch some TV then off to 5) Bedtime rituals (you know… brush teeth, bath, get dressed for bed, nightly talks etc).
Well last night – push came to shove when the teacher decided it was time to push the kids too and he gave them TWO homework assignments.
The amount of time it took Steve to do the actual work of the assignments was about an hour.
However, Steve being Steve, he found a way to turn that hour into 4 and a half hours with tantrums, meltdowns and a whole lot of tears and whining. Fits at daycare with his behavioral aide, fits at home with me before dinner, after dinner. Calm down breaks and such. He even ended up having to get up earlier than usual this morning to finish the homework.
But here’s the thing… thanks to my 2+ years of ABA training… this time was different…. not different for Steve as much as it was different for ME. I now know how to determine WHY Steve is doing these things. Is he trying to get attention, is he trying to avoid the work, things like that. Once you understand the why’s it is much easier to stay calm cool and collected. For the first time in having our homework meltdowns… I didn’t get upset.
Why is that such a big deal?
Well, it is such a big deal because 1) you can stay awake and aware and be able to collect ABC data. 2) you can stay calm and keep from having a stroke at 45 (that IS kinda important afterall) 3) you can talk about things with your kid more rationally after it is all over.
Case in point, in our nightly talk when all was said and done last night I was able to talk with Steve. Here is how that conversation went:
ME: Steve, the actual work… was it too hard?
ME: Do you know how long it took you to DO the actual work work part?
ME: Well, I can tell you because I know you saw me taking notes, The actual WORK WORK part only took you about an hour. 60 minutes. That’s it.
Steve: really? I think I cried longer than that.
ME: Yes, you kinda did. Well not so much cried that long, but between the tantrum with J (aide) and the tantrum here, the calm down time in your room, the tantrums AND the home work it was over FOUR hours. 4 buddy… 4.
Steve: ohhhh so I didn’t get my screen-time tonight because I wasted all my time to play?
ME: Yep buddy… that is right!
BY GEORGE… I THINK HE’S GOT IT.
I am happy to report… this morning Steve got up right when his alarm went off, got dressed and came out to the table. He sat down and we finished the homework just as we talked about doing last night before falling asleep. Steve then had 30 minutes of time to play this morning before we had to leave for school.
Image is of Homer Simpson exclaiming DOH when he realizes just how dopey he’s been.