With the end of the school year around the corner for many families, now’s a good time to look ahead and start thinking about Kids Summer Schedule Ideas.
With the end of the school year around the corner for many families, it’s a good time to look ahead to the summer and do the last thing you may want to do: get organized. Now I don’t mean pulling out the planner and adding even more stickers (although I am eyeing a few aqua gold-foiled beauties lately), I’m talking about thinking of our kids on the Autism Spectrum and getting a general plan together for summer break. Most if not all of these kids crave routine and knowing what’s around the corner.
Although my daughter is older now, before she returns home she prompts us to plan. She’s not one to do much of anything on the fly. My guess is your Super Special child may be the same way. Another thing your child may have in common with my Aspergirl is the distaste for surprises. Unless it’s her favorite flavor of Ben & Jerry’s awaiting her in the freezer, I haven’t met a surprise that child likes.
These two concepts, a desire for routines and a dislike for surprises, mean going the route of the old-fashioned lazy hazy days of summer are bound to lead to stress. Here are a few tips to help you plan an enjoyable summer without overdoing it. (As with anything, do your research first before signing up for anything.)
KIDS SUMMER SCHEDULE IDEAS
1.) Work on life skills.
Aside from camps and vacation (we’ll get to those in a sec), there is all that down time at home. This is a good time to consider which life skills you can work on now that school is out and there is more time to focus on other things. Choose to make it fun, but also consider making it part of the schedule. For instance, maybe Monday is “Grocery Day,” Tuesday is “Park Day,” and each morning starts off with one load of laundry. Each day does not need to be planned out, but having a loose schedule like this will add a sense of stability to those on the Autism Spectrum.
2.) Consider day camps.
If your budget can swing it, look into day camps that peak your child’s interests. If your budget is rather tight, look to your local Parks and Recreation or religious center for possible budget-friendly offerings. These provide structured time for your child as well as a break for mom. These can be especially welcoming if you work and need a daycare type option for older kids.
3.) Consider overnight camps.
There are many camps that welcome those on the Autism Spectrum as well as those with special needs. These vary greatly. An overnight camp is not the answer for everyone, but can be a wonderful experience for your child.
4.) Plan a family vacation…together.
Have a family meeting and plan vacation time together. Set expectations and ground rules, such as how much time you have as well as any budgetary constraints. For example, regarding time, it’s good to let the kids know if a weeklong trip is in the offering before plans even begin. For example, if you mention Disney or Universal to someone who has a special interest in princesses or Harry Potter, they may immediately plan the itinerary before you can say your next sentence. This is fine if you can pull it off, but if your amount of days off work only allows for a brief trip, bringing up the time constraint ahead of time can help. Remember, Aspies need concrete info to work with. “We’ll spend some time there” doesn’t mean anything unless you spell out how many days that actually is.
Setting budgeting expectations is a bit different. For example, instead of saying how much cash you have, you can phrase it along the lines of, “Disney is out, but camping or a few days at the beach are options,” as well as “We can swing a long weekend at Universal or WDW this year, but not a full week.” This is also the time to talk about fun money and whether or not you can throw a few bucks their way, or if they’ll need to save up and budget on their own. The last thing you want is to be in the middle of a pile of adorable plushies, magical wands, and stunning $8 caramel apples to start discussing money. BONUS TIP: Be realistic with your children about what you can afford without burdening them with it. It’s a fine line, but an important one.
Summer can be a wonderful time while your children are home. A little planning can make these special days of childhood enjoyable for the entire family.
Looking for more articles like this? Check them out here:
- Indulging Special Interests for Children
- Pets and Children With Special Needs
- 6 Questions for Your Child’s Next IEP Meeting