When Your Child Doesn’t Want to Run Errands

(and You Need to Get Work Done!)

Running errands can be challenging, especially around the holidays when there seems to be so much more to do and every store seems so much more crowded. Running errands with children can be daunting. Getting kids in and out of the car to go into a place that they don’t want to be may make getting things done seem impossible. It’s a pain for everyone!

There are several strategies that can be utilized to make running errands bearable although maybe still not fun! Haha! Preparation is key!

Preparing activities for the child can be a life saver for everyone! Products such as busy bags can help keep hands busy so that you can concentrate on getting errands run. Busy bags are self-contained educational toys and hands-on inspired learning games for children that are easy to pack or pull out when you to play with.

3211-Magnetic GUmball Counting GameGot-Autism has several on-the-go toys and games which could be used while your child rides in a car or shopping cart! One of my favorite toys is the Magnetic Gumball Counting Game because it can be taken into stores, in the car and in restaurants. Not only does it keep kids busy, it also has opportunities for learning built in. Check it out, it’s on sale right now: Magnetic Gumball Counting Game.

Another strategy which would be helpful is providing the child with a schedule of errands which are to be run. All of us like to understand what we have to do during any given day. Most adults use a calendar of some kind to keep track and some of us use lists to help us remember responsibilities. Many children are provided with a to-do list. Providing children with a schedule will help them to understand what has to be done and in what order and also what is left to do before they get to do something more preferred. For some kids, it may be efficient to just hand-write a schedule on any piece of paper.

Other kids may need a picture schedule which they can take with them as you go. You can make one yourself by gluing Velcro strips to a poster board and finding images and/or words to go with the usual activities on your child’s routine. Some kids may benefit from a large schedule which can be created at home collaboratively and 3177-Visual Schedule CHart_Got-Autismattached to time frames, like this one: Daily Visual Schedule Pocket Chart.

Lastly, remember to be patient. It’s pretty likely that no one is enjoying running errands but sometimes things just have to get done. Even the most preparation may not prevent every meltdown. For tips on handling a meltdown in public, see here: http://www.got-autism.com/blog/?p=394. Preparation will help set up everyone for success!

What are your tips for running errands for the kid who doesn’t want to run errands?


Got-Autism Guest Blogger Lisa Houseworth, JD, BCBA has worked with children with special needs using the principles of ABA and Verbal Behavior since 2001. In 2005, Lisa graduated from Northern Kentucky University with a bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education, and then continued her education by graduating from the University of Dayton Law School in May, 2010. She completed coursework to earn her Board Certification in Behavior Analysis from University of North Texas and her clinical supervision from Step By Step Academy (Columbus, OH), Carbone Clinic (Valley Cottage, NY) and through Cherish Twigg, BCBA. Lisa has had experience as the director of center-based programs in Dayton, OH and Wapakoneta, OH, school consulting, staff training and also overseeing in-home programs. She has worked with individuals ranging in age from 2 years old through young adults. Lisa currently works part-time for Key Behavior Services in Dayton, OH. In her spare time, she enjoys blogging, travelling and couponing.

Deep Pressure can Help Increase Focus

We all like hugs. They make us feel loved and protected. But there is more to it than that!

For many individuals with sensory regulation challenges, the deep pressure input that hugs provide can help regulate their sensory system. Many kids will squish themselves under couch cushions, wear a heavy backpack, or crash into things in search of that Deep Pressure. Why?

It all has to do with the proprioceptive system. For most of us, we are quite aware of our where our bodies are in space. We can keep our eyes on the road while adjusting the pressure we apply to the pedals of a car. We can pass a basketball without looking at our hand. We can put a spoon in our mouth without needing a mirror. This is because our entire nervous system is working together to tell us where our body is and make adjustments to meet the requirements of the situation.

Want to test your proprioception? Watch this video!

For individuals on the autism spectrum, their nervous system doesn’t always give them enough feedback. Just as they may be under or over sensitive to touch, they may also have trouble figuring out where their body is in space. This results in anxiety and an inability to focus. Other sensory challenges such as loud noises and bright lights can set off a chain reaction, often making it hard for people with autism to be in grocery stores, eat at restaurants and concentrate in school.

One of the common solutions for this is Deep Pressure Therapy. The idea of Deep Pressure was originated by Dr. Temple Grandin when she famously asked to be squished in her family’s cattle squeeze shoot. For Grandin, as with many individuals on the spectrum, touch was a challenge. Having a machine that could provide her the pressure without the social and physical complications of a human hug was the perfect solution. She went on to invent the Squeeze Machine and introduce the world to Deep Pressure Therapy.

Deep Pressure Therapy is used in therapy centers, homes and schools to help keep people on the spectrum calm. Common types of Deep Pressure include the “burrito roll” (rolling the individual in a carpet), using a rolling pin to provide pressure, and hugs.

There are also many products that can help provide deep pressure. The lack of portability and expense of the Hug Machine led to weighted vests, neoprene vests, and now available at Got-Autism, Snug Vest.

3693-Snug vestSnug Vest is a vest that uses air to provide portable Deep Pressure Therapy, and looks stylish doing it! By not using weight it is safe for the user, and the amount of pressure can be adjusted to the exact amount the user needs. The size is also adjustable so that the wearer doesn’t grow out of it.

Snug Vest is used in classrooms, therapy centers, homes and communities across North America. It has helped kids like 4 year-old Antony shop at Walmart, 16 year-old Danny eat at restaurants, and 8 year-old Buddy improve his handwriting.

Click here to learn more about Snug Vest and see if it might help you or your child!

Want to learn more about how Deep Pressure Therapy works? Listen to Occupational Therapist & Neurobiologist Kim Barthel explain how it works!