At times, community outings can be daunting for both parent and child alike; however, shaping up success on community outings can help with family cohesion and become increasingly more enjoyable for all involved. Below is some helpful advice on how to make community outings fun and beneficial.
1) Start small and simple. For example, if you want to go to the grocery store, and the store is typically difficult for your child, only go for a few things
2) When running errands, bring a list. Don’t just walk around and peruse. Go with explicit purpose
3) Have an exit plan. Know that if something goes awry, how you’re going to get yourself and child out of the store as easily as possible
4) Know that if your child has some difficulty with hearing “No,” or “We need to wait,” to plan for those instances
5) Remember that the goal is for the child to learn. Don’t rush around, make it a meaningful learning experience
6) Be prepared for people to stare, and maybe even comment to you or your child about their beahavior. In this same instance, don’t be hyper-critical of yourself or the on-lookers. Keep focused on what needs to be learned
7) Visit the same places often in the beginning. Don’t expect that a successful trip to the small, neighborhood grocery store means it’s time to tackle a large box store. Wait until you feel that they’ve acquired the ability to use their new skills in other environments
8) Don’t bring other children or siblings in the beginning. Focus on yourself and the child.
9) Use expectation and preview statements, and use them frequently. For instance, when you pull into the parking lot, stating “OK, we are going into the grocery store for bread, milk, and eggs. Remember to have an inside voice, not to run, and to keep your hands to yourself.”
I hope that this list of advice is helpful. Keeping these things in mind, and remaining calm and focused can make community outings fun, functional, and successful. Good luck!