We Went to Chuck E. Cheese for the 1st Time Ever! And It was a learning experience for us.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a guest pass for Chuck E. Cheese. The guest pass provided me with 30 tokens, 1 pizza & 4 drinks. No other monetary payment was received. All opinions are my own.


I'm not even gonna to lie. For years I avoided Chuck E. Cheese. Years people! I was foolish enough to believe that Norrin would never figure out what Chuck E. Cheese was all about. 

But that boy of mine...he knew all about Chuck E. and asked for him frequently.

I was scared. Scared of the unknown. Having a kid with autism can do that to a parent. We get scared to take chances. We are afraid of letting go. We worry and think that some things may be too much - for them and for us. (Or maybe it's just me.)

Earlier this month, I received an email from Chuck E. Cheese:

We strive to ensure a positive, family-friendly environment for all children, regardless of special needs, and are proud to support the autism community and its initiatives in any way we can. Our Rewards Calendars, that allow children to earn 10 free tokens when they achieve a defined goal, help empower a child’s development. Additionally, active play with a child is among the most helpful activities because it is a natural way for special needs kids to learn new skills. Environments like Chuck E. Cheese’s arcades provide special needs children with rewarding games and activities that can improve motor skills, which can lead to improved social interactions and improved speech. And after playtime, children can enjoy our gluten-free individual cheese pizzas and cupcakes!


Norrin likes playing video games and I want him to have as many experiences as possible. After receiving the email and invitation, I knew I had to give Chuck E. Cheese a chance.  But I had to do it in a way that worked for us. 
  
          5 Ways Chuck E. Cheese Worked for Us          
               & Why It Could Be Great for  Kids with Autism            

Perfect for Playdates. Sometimes playdates can be hard to schedule. Living in a small apartment and being a working mom - I don't always have the time to plan out a home playdate. Going to Chuck E. Cheese makes it easy. I decided to invite our friends - Nic and his mom, Janine - with us. Nic & Janine have been to Chuck E. Cheese many times and I knew they could show us the ropes. 

Socialization & Speech Skills. We are always looking for new ways for Norrin to engage with peers. Norrin enjoys playing video games - it's an "age-appropriate" activity. Norrin was able to watch other kids play games and vice versa. Norrin had to wait his turn and be considerate of others waiting to play a game. He had to navigate a crowded space, say "excuse me" and use his words appropriately to get what he wanted.  

Fine motor skills. A place like Chuck E. Cheese is fun but it's also a lot of work especially for kids who have challenges with their fine motor skills. And I definitely made Norrin work. I didn't help him in the least. He had to figure out how many tokens each game needed and insert them in the slot. He played independently. When he won tickets, I only prompted him to get them. We loved the giant/touch screen Fruit Ninja game, the water blaster (aim) game and the Milk Jugg (ball) toss -- hand/eye coordination and fine motor practice at it's best!

There's a reward. At the end of your time at Chuck E. Cheese, you count out your tickets and collect your prize. I loved that Norrin got to walk out with something. Chuck E. Cheese are great at encouraging kids to do their best and when kids do their best - they are rewarded for their efforts. It's amazing for their self-confidence. 

It's a place where kids can be kids. I mean, that's the Chuck E. Cheese motto. And it applies to all kids - atypical or otherwise. I appreciate that Chuck E. Cheese works towards creating an inclusive environment. Usually, I hover over Norrin. But at Chuck E. Cheese, I fell back  a little and let Norrin do his thing. I felt safe knowing that he couldn't run out without  me (all kids and parents are stamped and there's someone at the door ensuring kids don't walk out without their parents).


We will definitely return to Chuck E. Cheese again. Because it's a place where Norrin can have fun and I can let go (if only for a little while).



Disclaimer: I was provided with a guest pass for Chuck E. Cheese. The guest pass provided me with 30 tokens, 1 pizza & 4 drinks. No other monetary payment was received. All opinions are my own.

1 comment:

  1. I know many people who despise Chuck E Cheese but I've never had an issue, thank God! lol I've had birthday parties for all of my kids and it was awesome! You just have to know what time to visit & when...hint, hint..

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