School’s Out for Summer!
The summer is upon us! Whether you’re the type of person who loves the heat or prefers to stay put in the AC, the summer holidays often mean that our days are more relaxed and a bit less structured. While this can be a nice change from the school year, it can also be stressful for those who do well with a predictable schedule. Here are some tips to help set you up for a wonderful summer holiday.
Prepare your child ahead of time.
During the summer, each day or week might look a bit different. Use a calendar to prepare your child for what they will be doing. If your child can read, you can write out the activity (e.g., park, camp). If your child understands better through the use of pictures, you can print out a small image of the activity. Some children do best with a lot of notice and need to know what they will be doing all summer, while other children can fixate on an activity if they know about it too far in advance. Consider how much time your child needs and add to the summer calendar accordingly.
Add some predictability to the day.
Consider maintaining a few consistent routines for your child each day. These can be routines around which you and your child reference other activities. For example, “We’re going to the park after lunch,” or, “You’re going to camp after breakfast.” A routine as simple as waking up and having breakfast while watching a favourite TV show can add some much needed predictability to the day.
There is usually a fair bit of downtime during the summer and it’s a great opportunity to expand upon your child’s leisure skills. Take some time to think about whether your child has a few activities that they enjoy and can do independently and safely. If not, brainstorm a few activities you could try over the summer. Some of my favourite summer activities to try are sidewalk chalk, bike riding, throwing water balloons, and gardening.
Maintain those new skills.
Your child has worked all year to learn new skills and you don’t want to waste that hard work! Ask your child’s teacher or therapist how you can continue to practice those skills over the summer. Some skills will be easier to work on than others. Self-care skills might be naturally incorporated into their day, whereas addition and subtraction might take a little more planning on your part (how about practicing by buying an ice cream from the ice cream truck!). If possible, watch how your child’s teacher or therapist teaches the different skills. This will help you know what to expect when you ask your child to try the skill at home.
The summer is a wonderful time to try new things! For more information and summertime activity ideas, visit us at kerrymaisels.com.