Anyone with children can tell you that occupying our little monsters can be a challenge. You need to get creative, be engaging and make it fun. It is so important to build that relationship, but if you suffer from Misophonia, it is safe to assume that many of these activities can be very challenging.
Naturally, some people have more triggers than others, as well as different kinds of triggers. Let’s be honest, most “kid-friendly” places are NOT Misophonia friendly. There are so many activities that I used to be able to participate in that are now unfeasible. For example, a bowling alley, a jump park, even a playground.
Even movie theaters are a challenge, but there are some accommodations available. A few simple rules to follow for going to a movie:
Never see a movie on opening weekend. That is just asking to be triggered by the crowds! Consider going to a movie at an “off time”. Most people do not go to the early morning matinees, which would be prime time for a Misophone.
Many theaters offer assigned seating. This is a wonderful way to see how crowded the theater will be, as well as allow you to sit in the back row. This will enable you to avoid those foot shaking, seat kicking jerks behind you. (not to mention the snackers!)
In the US, movie theaters are required to offer hearing assisted headphones in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. These are a total game changer. Simply ask for a pair of hearing assist headphones at the box office. There is no charge for use of the device, and there is a volume control to adjust to your own comfort level. The movie will stream through them. (Personally, I take some disinfectant wipes prior to use) and often will wear my earplugs with them for added protection. They can tune out those insufferable snackers that seem to check their manners at the box office.
Don’t want to risk it? I cannot say that I blame you, I will only go to the theater is there is a movie that I absolutely want to see and I do not want to wait for the DVD. Why not have a family movie night? With so many choices, cable, Netflix, Amazon, etc. you can enjoy a movie in the comfort of your own home, without the triggers. You can’t beat that!
What are some things you can do at home with your rugrats? Depending on their age(s) there are so many fun activities to enjoy together. If you have younger children, Play-Doh is a wonderful activity. It is quiet, creative and you can literally play for hours, not to mention that the feeling of the Play-Doh in your hands can be very relaxing and therapeutic for most people. (Sadly, it may be a tactile trigger for others). Older children may enjoy making and playing with slime. Let’s face it, are you ever too old for Play-Doh?
Some activities can be designed for children of all ages. For example, coloring is no longer just for “little ones”. There are so many coloring books for all ages including teenagers and adults. Throw in some gel pens or glitter pencils for your older kids and it is actually a lot of fun! I have always found coloring to be a very relaxing activity. I would strongly recommend skipping capped markers, since taking the caps on and off can be a trigger. Crayons, colored pencils, even paints can be used. No one said you have to be an artist to enjoy being creative! Who cares if that picture of a family on the beach looks like your paint exploded all over the canvas! Use your creativity as an outlet for your feelings and emotions. Express yourself! I doubt your child will critique your work, they are just happy to be creating with you!
Arts and crafts can be customized by the age group, as your child grows older, scrapbooking not only helps reminisce but you are using your energy creatively while creating a beautiful memory. Perhaps you can try making your own beauty supplies, lip gloss, bath or shower bombs. (Products you can enjoy later for relaxation time). The possibilities are endless. Most of these activities can be done with things around your house so you are not wasting money.
Let’s not forget about doing puzzles together. A past-time we enjoyed as children have become a thing of the past. Bring it back!
Go unplugged! Video games often have an abundance of audio triggers. Go back to the good old days. Time to dig those board games out of the closet and have a family game night. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised at how much your children enjoy board games
Just because you have Misophonia does not mean that you cannot enjoy spending time with your children. Having Misophonia means finding different and creative ways to make memories. Even if your condition keeps you “locked in” doesn’t mean you should be “locked out” of making memories.Want to learn more? Join a Workshop with Dr. Jennifer Brout or Duke CMER at Misophonia Education.