For children with autism, abstract concepts are more difficult to understand than things that are concrete. That can make something light-hearted and fun, like Valentine’s Day, a bit more challenging for parents who want to celebrate with their kids. At Innovative Behavior Options, we think it’s the perfect opportunity to spread some love and to learning something new.
For families looking for ideas to enjoy the holiday together, here are a few fun ways to share and celebrate Valentine’s Day with your child with autism.
Tell a Story
History can be hard to conceptualize for some, but for others, it’s a great way to take something abstract and make it concrete. If you have a child who appreciates a good story, celebrate Valentine’s Day by talking about the history of the holiday – like this short version on National Geographic Kids.
If the history isn’t quite age-appropriate for your child, you can also talk about the social ways we celebrate Valentine’s Day, such as cards for friends and loved ones.
List the People You Love
Or, for a fun twist, let your child list the people who love them. The list gets long quickly, and it’s a concrete way for kids to think about love and friendship. For children who are nonverbal or could use an extra prompt, try using photos and let them point to their loved ones.
Make Home-Made Cards
Colored paper, scissors, glue, and markers. For the crafty kiddo, creating a homemade Valentine is a perfect opportunity to really express themselves. If you’ve made a list of friends and loved ones, let your child pick one or two people to create a masterpiece for. Cut out some heart shapes ahead of time and prepare to see some amazing creativity.
Show Some Love
As a parent, Valentine’s Day is a good opportunity to take time to reflect on the great aspects of your kiddos. And to tell them just how amazing they really are. One fun way to do just that is to add a new post-it note or heart-shaped cutout to their door each night after they’re in bed with one of the many reasons you love them. It’s rewarding as a parent and a confidence booster for your kiddo.
At IBO, we appreciate the opportunity to show some love for our clients and families. We’re grateful for you! To learn more about ABA therapy and our individualized behavior plans for children with special needs, give us a call at 770-250-0093.