Select a “good fit” playmate. Keep it short like an hour or two. Plan the activities.
Prepare Matthew by role playing “good host” behaviors. Emphasize sharing and the interests of the guest. Create a “code word” to let Matthew know he is out of bounds.
When Matthew is getting “wound up”, shift gears to deflect his anxiety.
Making snacks or an art project gives structure when his energy level is too high or he's becoming frustrated or his guess is looking "droopy".
Have something for the guest to take home as a reminder of the pleasant time they had.
After the guest leaves, briefly review the high and low points to improve the next play date.
Next, try an outing such as movies or the aquarium. Follow the same guidelines so Matthew knows what to expect.
Take a look at this previous blog post for more ideas. Consider activities where kids can assemble kits together. There are other resources such as the Dad Lab. There are all kinds including cooking kits. These activities are collaborative and not competitive, so that may help.
We get good at what we practice, so keep practicing!
Just do the best you can, but have fun at it! Claudia
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