Whether it seems like it or not, kids thrive on structure and routine – especially those with special needs. You’ve probably noticed that when your days are chaotic and filled with lots of change, your kids are a little out of sorts too. That’s no coincidence. They like to know what to expect and what is expected. Transitioning from school to summer can be challenging because kids lose that daily routine and there is more free time.
Just because school is over does not mean your child’s entire schedule has to change. While there will be many differences – mainly, they’re not going to class – there are things you can keep the same. For instance, maintain a consistent wake-up and bedtime routine. You can adjust the times a bit, but stick with a similar schedule. Your kids are already used to it, so no need to throw a wrench in things. Plus, this also makes going back to school in the fall easier. Using a picture schedule and reviewing each day can help them know what to expect.
Try to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner around the same time as well. While this isn’t always possible, it helps to break up the day into more manageable segments and keeps your kids consistently full to reduce meltdowns.
Plan some educational activities into each day too. This could be fun math games, reading stories together, making up your own stories, making homemade volcanoes, or planting a garden. Pick things your child enjoys and is interested in, then incorporate learning. Not only will this help them keep from becoming bored, it practices and reinforces what they’ve learned in school and helps reduce regression. Don’t forget to work on therapy skills also!
Making playdates with school friends can be fun as well. It gives you adult time with another parent while letting your child play and socialize with friends. Perhaps you could plan regular meetups throughout the summer and do different activities together so your kids continue that valuable interaction with their peers while learning.
Also, make sure you’re being consistent and holding your kids to the same expectations during the summer as you do during the school year. While it’s okay to have some flexibility, they should know that just because they’re not in school doesn’t mean they have no responsibilities. Continue helping them set goals to work toward, develop their independence, gain responsibility, and practice good behavior.
Whether school is in session or out for summer, PediaPlex offers a full range of therapies and services. Your child can get regular support to help them continue to thrive and progress toward their goals. They can also learn ways to better cope with change and new routines. Summer is full of opportunity.
If your child struggles to adapt to change, contact PediaPlex to see how we can help!