I try to plan all my shopping/errands on the same day. If Shayla behaves well, I praise and verbally commend her actions and allow her one special activity with me to celebrate. She is like any child and thrives with this. Sometimes she picks the activity, sometimes I do, sometimes it's a spur of the moment thing. Like this recent trip to a playground. Here you see my two kids (Shayla & Big Kid, Dad), having a blast! Shayla loves climbing and exploring tunnels. She has been playing hard all summer. As a result, her muscles are stronger and it has improved her large motor skills and fine motor skills.
Going to the playground may not seem like a big feat, but to our family it is. Shayla will occasionally enjoy a playground visit. Her only requirement is that there be no other kids there. That's why it's an occasional treat. If there are kids, she hangs on us and watches the other people so much, that she's not even playing. Her senses just get overwhelmed by the confusion of kids screaming, the quick movements of many little bodies, etc, etc, etc. and she can't focus on having fun. I can't imagine having anxiety like that! Sometimes we just sit and watch and I talk about what is going on with her before "throwing her into the activity."
On another trip to a different playground (in which we were the only ones there). I made Shayla communicate where she wanted me to go with her. First by pointing, then later on by whispering. At first she was determined not to do this, but she was messing with the wrong mommy on that day. You see, it was one of those rare moments when I had all the time in the world. I could be just as stubborn as she. My persistence paid off. She whispered slide, tunnel, swing, bouncy, over there, etc.
Most people may think I'm crazy, but my child has been diagnosed with selective mutism. That means she can speak. Speaks very well, in fact. However, she only speaks when she wants to. Which most generally means, only at our home. Her safe little spot in the world. When she was five, she attended preschool for an entire year, and did not speak one word to ANYONE! Including me, when I was at her preschool. Her teachers were amazed when I brought in a video tape of her and I playing together at home. So, mom's not crazy, she CAN talk!!!
Anyways....I guess I got a little off topic here. We just enjoyed a family outing to a playground! A fun and frugal way to spend a day!!!