There are two kinds of parents when summer rolls around. One kind can’t wait to for summer break, while the other kind is panic stricken at the thought of having their children home all summer. Summer break can become even more of a struggle for parents of children with mental health problems such as anxiety, ADHD, and Autism Spectrum Disorders. For these children, school provides a predictable schedule that they can rely on throughout the school year. But what happens when that predictability is gone for the summer?
Children, especially those on the Autism Spectrum, can become panicked during transitions. Keeping a visual schedule posted in a common area will help ease the transition. Keeping that schedule similar to that of the school year (wake up at 7 am, eat breakfast, brush teeth, lunch at noon, bedtime is at 9 pm, etc.) can limit stress and anxiety.
With the idea of sticking to a schedule, if planned events surface, such as a trip to the zoo, a vacation, a play date, tell the child sooner rather than later.
Planning activities outdoors can benefit everyone in the family. Being outdoors is good for the brain, body, and soul. It is scientifically proven that being outdoors promotes creativity, boosts our immune system, and provides vitamin D.
Finally, nurture positive behavior. It’s going to be a long summer with a few bumps in the road. Focus on the desired behavior and praise it. Kids will definitely pick up on that and want to repeat those good choices to get your positive feedback.
Don’t be too hard on yourself if things don’t go as planned. Use every experience as an opportunity to learn and grow. These kind of transitions can be hard on everyone. But, remember that summer break is vital to reboot ourselves for the following school year.