A birthday treat for our eldest son was a trip to the Lego Show on Saturday at the Excel Centre in London. It is rare for me to spend a whole day with him, as like many families with special needs children, we have limited people we can call on to babysit. Therefore, we have to juggle the activities of all three kids and find some time where either my husband or I can take one child out on their own for some quality time. We feel it is important to have 1:1 time with each child, as well as spending time together as a family.
Saturday gave our eldest son the chance to relax without worrying about the demands of his ASD siblings. It didn’t matter that the train and tubes were busy, as he could cope with standing up and being in close proximity to others. Queuing for 45 minutes to get inside the Lego Show (and that’s with tickets that we had already bought!!) didn’t faze him, as he was happy to chat to pass the time. When we had finished in the show, we decided to be spontaneous and go sightseeing. These may all seem little things, but they are not easy to achieve when we all go out as a family as we need to prepare our ASD children for what we will do during the day. From a sensory perspective, a day at the Lego show could cause them sensory overload with the volume of people, noise, people brushing past them in queues, visual distractions etc.
After a day of looking at fantastic Lego constructions and seeing what was on offer at the various stands, our son came away very happy with his Ninjago Lego kits and Lego Xbox games. I had hoped to buy some Harry Potter Lego, as it’s hard to come by these days. I thought I had hit jackpot when I found a small box on a stand with Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy figures on their broomsticks. I queried the price as the box had been opened and was shocked when I was told it was £45!!
Instead of buying the Lego, I’m going to use the money to go on another day out and enjoy some quality time. After the success of Saturday, I’ve set myself the goal of once a month, I will find time to have some 1:1 time with each of our children, as well as a day out all together. It will need some careful planning to suit everyone’s needs, but seeing the pleasure on their faces like I did with my son on Saturday will make the effort more than worth it. I want our children to have fond memories of spending quality time as a family, like I have of my childhood. It doesn't have to cost a fortune either, what is more important is the time and attention you give your children.