Making Life Easier: Running Errands
Running errands (e.g., going to the store, bank, etc.) is one of those essential household routines that all families experience. It is often thought of as a “maintenance” activity that is necessary for the family, but not enjoyable for young children. However, there can be huge benefits in taking your young child along. He learns about his community while spending time with someone he loves and trusts, someone who can help him understand the world beyond home and family. Running errands together offers the chance to build self-confidence, curiosity, social skills, self control, communication skills, and sensory exploration. He’ll have opportunities to greet and interact with other children and adults with your guidance and support. He will also be able experience the myriad of smells, tastes, sounds, and textures of the greater world within which he lives. However, running errands can be extremely difficult if the child has challenging behavior. It’s not uncommon for families to feel overwhelmed by their child’s challenging behavior and resort to only running errands when someone else can care for the child at home. Sometimes, depending on the errand (e.g., a long shopping trip, parent visit to the doctor), that might be the best strategy. Still, there are steps you can take to help you and your child get the most out of these outings.