Posts Categorized: Julie Cole

Tough Transitions

I’ve often heard parents talk about difficulties their kids have with transitions. Sometimes it’s a change in routine, a change in wardrobe or a change in living situations. I’ve never had big issues with my kids and transitions. Even my child with autism didn’t struggle too much in this department.

I used to think parents dealing with normal transitional stuff were exaggerating the difficulty of it. Until now. My youngest is one of these tough “transitioners.”

It’s not so much a change in routine that gets to him- it seems to be mostly about clothing. This makes seasonal changes quite dramatic. Now that spring is upon us, you would think he’d happily put away his bulky snow pants. No such luck. My little guy runs around outside all day on Sunday in shorts and a t-shirt. Come Monday morning, he’s searching for his snow pants. Then there is his favourite winter hat. He would rather have his ears amputated due to frost bite than wear a different hat. This made for some tricky situations if that special hat got misplaced on very cold days.

The funniest quirk has to do with his school uniform. He loves his school uniform and happily wears it every day. However, if they have a special day when they can wear regular clothes, he refuses to participate. On Valentine’s Day, there was a school wide competition to see which class wore the most red clothing. This is how the day played out:

- He refused to wear red and went to school in his uniform;
- He came home and reported that he was the only child not wearing red;
- He was furious that his class didn’t win the contest for wearing the most red.

Yes, he was the reason his class didn’t win, and yet it angered him.

This weekend, my little tough transitioner turned five. He happily accepted a party and presents, but was not happy about giving up the age of four. My little man appeared to have an acute case of “Peter Pan Syndrome”. When people ask him his age, his response is “still four” and we were only allowed to put four candles on his birthday cake. I figure by the time he gets used to being five- years -old, he’ll be six.

Have you had a child who had difficulty with transitions? What ways have you found to help your child deal with change? Was it something that was outgrown?

Finding Autism Support For Parents

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It has been 10 years since my son was diagnosed with autism at the age of three.

Back in those days, you got your diagnosis and you were sent on your way to deal with it. Very little information regarding treatment, agencies, education or help of any kind was provided. It was pretty much a “Yes, your son has autism… don’t hit yourself with the door on the way out” kind of an approach.

I didn’t even know where to get started. Keep in mind – this was long before social media. Finding autism support and connecting with other families was not a click away. Even in those early days, I learned quickly that my very best resource was other parents. I stand by that today. And with so many kids affected, there are more and more parents with experience that you can turn to. For example:

  • Other Moms. You can find moms everywhere. School is a great place to start. If you can find moms with a child on the spectrum who are attending the school your child will be attending, connect with them.  They can give you the ins and outs of the special education resources available, how to negotiate support for your child, which teachers are best to deal with and basically how to work the system in the best possible way for your child. Going to school is a big move for our kids (and us!) so connecting with school moms prior to school enrollment is key.
  • Support groups. I wandered into an autism support group and truly found my people. But you have to find the right group. Some groups are for parents to share in their concerns and maybe have a little cry and get support that way. My support group suited me because we were a group about action. The facilitator was fierce – we were all there because we wanted the best outcomes for our kids and we left with actual tasks to report back on at the next meeting. There was no “There, there, everything will be OK.” And that was fine with me. Make sure your autism support group has the same goals as you do to get the most out of it.
  • Online groups. There are countless Facebook groups, Yahoo groups and online communities. What I would have done for that resource 10 years ago!  These groups are a great place to have discussions, ask questions and get answers. And who isn’t blogging these days? There are amazing blogs written by parents of children with autism who share their journeys. Find some you connect with and you have instant community.

You don’t have to do this alone. We are here waiting to help you. Find us.

Other related posts by Julie Cole:

Nice Things You Say That Annoy Me

This is Lovely, But….

Helping Not-So-Social Kids Make Friends
About the Author:

Julie Cole Mabel's Labels

Julie Cole

Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six. Getting geared up for hockey finals? Be sure to grab your Hockey Label Combo today!


Are My Kids Materialistic Enough?

Fancy clothes? Nah… who needs them. Or shoes, for that matter. Just not a priority around these parts.

Throughout my parenting journey, I’ve generally put value on experiences rather than stuff. I’m not fussed about having fancy furniture or cars, mostly because I’m simply not interested. Those things don’t excite me.

My friends often laugh at my lack of interest over things like a new house or new car. When it was time to buy outdoor furniture, my neighbour picked it out. When I needed new furniture for the family room, my mom and sister did the shopping and I just sent along my credit card for them to buy what they liked.

I don’t make a big deal about a broken dish or such things. Hey, it’s only “stuff”, right? Some of this lack of interest has rubbed off on my children. While my kids have certain fashion “looks” that they like (mostly defined as “comfy”), they have never asked for a certain brand or label of clothing.

While we were away for March break, a friend tried to surprise me by attempting to get some stains out of a couple of the bedroom carpets. Surprise me, she did! It turns out she used bleach as part of her cleaning concoction and as a result, I have multiple patches of bleached carpet throughout two bedrooms. My sister popped over for a visit the night we returned, so I gave her a tour of the damage.

While showing my sister around, I guess I expressed some unusual concern about the bleaching event, because my daughter pulled me aside and shared that she felt I wasn’t acting like my usual self. She reminded me that it was an accident and it’s only carpet and she and her sisters don’t mind that their carpet is splotchy.

Her sentiment impressed me and I liked that she placed so little value on the carpet. But then I thought to myself, “Hold on! I’m going to have to replace these carpets. And I’m the one who paid for them. They ARE of value”.

So it made me question – what have I been teaching my kids without realizing it? Have I raised my kids to be so un-materialistic that they don’t understand the value of anything? (Or should I not worry, because they’re not irresponsible with their belongings, so they’re clearly not too far gone?)

How much value do your children place in “things”? Has your attitude around material possessions been passed down to your kiddos? Do you have any tips on how to teach kids about money and value?


About the Author:

Julie Cole Mabel's Labels

Julie Cole



Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six. Getting geared up for hockey finals? Be sure to grab your Hockey Label Combo today!

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