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Evenings are hell

Bonkersmad246Bonkersmad246 Posts: 5Member
edited August 2016 in Parents and carers
My daughter Abi, 4 (ASD) started school this September and goes to a child minder 3 nights per week. By the time I come home from work and pick up both my kids (my 2 year old is at nursery) it is 6pm. Of course Abi is extremely tired, but there are certain things we need to do each evening, eat tea, have a bath, get ready for bed, mummy makes sandwiches etc.. Abi's needs are her cat costume, iPad games, tv. All of this in the 1 and quarter hours we have before bed. Needless to say this time is horrible, Abi spends most of the time screaming as I try to get her to eat dinner and have a bath before she gets cat costume and iPad and then the battle for bedtime starts.

I feel at breaking points on these nights I work, how can I improve things? Abi has to be in control all of the time and there is not enough time for me to indulge her. She only has a bath on 2 of these nights, she gets sore from not wiping herself properly at school so we need to do this. The child minder does not offer meals so eating earlier is also not an option. Abi would rather not eat if it meant getting her own way and she did start to loose weight before half term because of this. Help..

Thanks
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Replies

  • BusyOTBusyOT Posts: 77Member
    Hi - don't think I can help you much as an OT (I work with adults)
    As a working mum with boys of 5 and 3, I can, however totally empathise with your situation and the difficulties of trying to achieve the whole evening routine in such a short time. My boys don't have the added difficulty of ASD but my youngest does a fine line in tantrums and refusing to eat! I now have a clear routine that they understand and spend the evening after they've gone to bed getting super organised - tea is made ready to be pinged or it's snack type food I know they like (I never give them something I know they don't like much on work nights), pyjamas are laid out ready and the bath is running whilst they eat. After bath it's homework and then they have a wee bit of time to do their own thing. A set routine each night might help Abi understand what needs to be done - does she use a visual timetable at school? If so then one at home with the night time routine on might help.
    Hang in there - you'll both work it out and find a routine that works, and she will be less tired as she gets used to school. If it doesn't get any easier though, then it might be worth asking your GP for a visit from the Health Visitor. Keep in touch and know that the netbuddy community will listen and support you (someone else out there will be going through the same thing).
  • toasttoast Posts: 47Member Listener
    It is a horrible time I agree. Are there any jobs you could leave until after they are in bed - the making sandwiches / any washing up etc? This will ease the evening pressure. Have food that is easy to cook - maybe freeze whole meals or keep bags of prepared chopped food in fridge freezer (I advise this as someone who eats lots of takeaways and convenience foods btw ;))

    Agree that a visual timetable is an excellent idea. IIWY I wouldn't be using TV and iPad time as a reward - I'd build that in as a distraction whilst I was trying to get on with something like cooking etc. Is there anything else you could use as reward? I have some plastic elmo figures which I use with my son. Each time he does something good he gets 1. We line them up on the fireplace (works better for us than a reward chart) and when he gets 10 he can have a magazine, new app etc.

    A combination of structure helped by the visual timetable, giving into some sanity saving distractions and rewarding cooperation might help.

    Also would getting any extra help by applying for and using direct payments to get some help for these hectic hours be an option? Well maybe one weekday per week if that would make any difference..
  • JimJamsJimJams Posts: 175Member Listener
    I would not make abit wait for the ipad or cat costume, have them waiting at the door as soon as you get in, get the tv on to something she likes and you can get on with the other things. Create a wee book of simbols velcrod on and show her the i pad the cat costume , then eat then bath then bed. Show a wee reward sticker next to the eat dinner and bath and bed signs. I know you want to do things in the correct order but at this age it is abis way or the highway, dont fight it any longer give in, you have plenty of other really important battles to come. A reward chart with stickers of her favorite cartoons might also work, give her her own way, and give yourself a break to get on with the other things. Bribe her to get in the bath, whatever it takes and on the nights it does not work, dont beat yourself up, use some wet soapy baby wipes instead. I hope I dont sound blunt , not trying to be, just have been there, I am talking from experience.
  • JimJamsJimJams Posts: 175Member Listener
    I meant to add, things do get better over time, my son is only a couple of years older, but we have been where you are, choose your battles or you will wear yourself out completely, you might think by giving them there own way you will make it worse, you wont, sharing, empathy, cooperation does come with time and as their understanding improves, make your life easier where you can, dont dig your heels in , it does not work, with autism at young age they are not capable of giving in, they just cant do it physically, mentally, but we can.
  • TeresaTeresa Posts: 24Member
    edited June 2014
    I agree with Marie. You may need to change the routine so that your daughter can cope with it. If she has her favourite possessions, with no strings attached, as soon as she gets home, you will hopefully get her to cooperate more readily. Her costume and ipad are probably her security items. My daughter too needs certain things/rituals before she can relax and do what I ask of her. Hope your evenings become less stressful for all of you!
  • JimJamsJimJams Posts: 175Member Listener
    I was thinking the same thing Teresa, abis things will be a comforter to her and it is more stressful for her to maybe have to wait for them after doing so well being at school and then the childminder , if she has managed all of that she will be anxious by the time she gets home and will be looking for her comforts
  • Bonkersmad246Bonkersmad246 Posts: 5Member
    Thanks for the responses, I really appreciated it. I understand what you say about not holding back with her favourite stuff. I think I will try a change. I still need the iPad though as a reward for eating as otherwise she will not eat her evening meal at all. She is a really really fussy eater. She will eat breakfast and sandwiches and piles of fruit, but not meals. The iPad seems to be the only thing she will eat them for. The first week at school she did not eat anything in the evening all week! I was trying to be strict and not give in and give her something else if she refused her meal.

    Today has been another tough day, she bit one child and hit another, feeling sad tonight. I think she is just really tired.
  • TeresaTeresa Posts: 24Member
    Really hope things get better for you all. If your daughter is like mine, it's very hard to get everything done if you haven't much time. My girl can spend a couple of hours picking at a meal sometimes. I know it isn't ideal, but could you give the childminder food for your daughter, a sort of packed tea? She might not be so irritable when she gets home if she's not hungry as well as tired.
  • HeatherHeather Posts: 188Member Listener
    Hi. Appreciate where you are coming from. I called in school staff to witness the temper tantrums we were encountering and stress. They tried lots of angles to help, but ultimately we worked through it. Is it possible to adapt your working hours slightly? An extra hour makes a huge difference. Good luck and look after yourself as well. x
  • TeresaTeresa Posts: 24Member
    I think what i was trying to say is, it's ok to cut corners. You don't have to be supermum. My own attempts at that are foiled all the time! Hope you settle into a routine that makes life less stressful for you all.
  • Bonkersmad246Bonkersmad246 Posts: 5Member
    Things a lot better tonight. Tinned ravioli for tea - how nutritious, but a big favourite. Not incidents at school, cat costume and iPad and to bed on time - phew.

    The child minder will only provide a snack and not a meal. I have thought about reducing my hours but this unfortunalty would not be allowed on my core days tues to thurs.

    Aren't us mums left feeling guilty and less than perfect all of the time!


  • TeresaTeresa Posts: 24Member
    So true bonkersmad. We continue to strive for perfection though :). Glad you had a better evening yesterday.
  • HeatherHeather Posts: 188Member Listener
    Sooooooooooo glad to hear you had a better evening, long may it reign! Don't feel guilty cutting corners. YOU are MUM and the most important person to your kids, look after yourself. x
  • JimJamsJimJams Posts: 175Member Listener
    Glad to hear to had a better night, dont feel guilty so much, you have got to cope each day however you can, if you get too stressed you wont cope and things can get worse, I am sure the biting and hitting will subside, it seemed to with my son as his understanding of language improved. look after yourself and good luck
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