For the children, the arrival of the holidays is a great thing and they are wishing they did not have to go to school, sleep late and spend the day lazing around. But for parents, especially those who work outside the home, they can be a problem. And if you have children with special needs, such as developmental problems, hyperactivity, autism, or anxiety, it can be a problem. Especially since these profiles of children depend on the school to have a routine that keeps them stable.
Therefore, we give you some tips to spend a good summer with the whole family.
1. Keep a schedule
Although it may seem difficult in the face of vacation freedom, try to stick to a schedule. Above all, try to make meals and bedtime as similar as possible to school. This will make your child more comfortable and cooperative with you.
2. Be visual
Children who function well with predictable schedules can panic about changes. These children benefit if the schedule is in a conspicuous place, such as the refrigerator. Depending on your child’s developmental level, simple pictures can help him understand the steps that make up his routine.
3. Make plans
Try to plan the activities as far in advance as possible and let them know in advance. These can be anything from visiting an uncle or going to the park or the pool every day. Keep in mind that it can be difficult to find playmates for children who have difficulty socializing, so try to meet people who already know them.
4. Get out of the house
Staying home may seem like the easiest thing to do, but it doesn’t hurt to look at camping options. These are great for children as they get them out of their familiar space and give them a schedule and routine. If your children are not used to sleeping outside, or you do not think it is a good idea, you can find a camp that is only during the day.
If you are not considering a camp, try to find alternatives for your child to enjoy, such as riding a bike or scooter, playing tag, or splashing in the pool. They can also take workshops related to music and art, mindfulness or yoga, as well as chess games. After all, these types of activities are good for everyone’s mental and physical health. It must be borne in mind that these children learn in a different way and at a different pace, and for this reason, they may need a series of aids or adaptations in each of them.
5. Reinforce positive behavior
Kids and teens alike act like they want to be in charge, but they actually feel safer if they know what you expect of them. To do this, positively reinforce good behavior. Pick the two or three attitudes you want to reinforce and focus on giving positive rewards. Try to ignore the other negative behaviors as much as you can. In this way, your child will learn that doing things wrong does not give any reaction, not even a negative one.
For children under the age of five, a sticker board can be a great reinforcement. Try to keep your limits firm so they know what is accepted and what is not.
6. Find support
As a general rule, if you feel overwhelmed, do not hesitate to contact other parents, find a babysitter for your children, even ask grandparents for help and go out with your friends. There is nothing wrong with having time to yourself during the holidays.
7. Maintain a routine, even when traveling
If going to a hotel and eating in a restaurant is too much for your type of child, feel free to rent an apartment and cook at home. Although cooking is not your idea of a vacation, it will be better if your child is calm.
8. Determine your child’s anxiety
Summer brings many unknown people, camp monitors, babysitters, pool lifeguards, among others. That is why it is important that you identify your child’s fears, whether it is separating from you or failing in a sport. To identify him, ask open questions about his fears and once you identify them, you can help him face them. For that, your child will need gradual exposure to his fear, help him at first and withdraw your presence little by little. If necessary, advise the adults who work with your child so that they are understanding with him.
9. Prepare for tough times
The holidays can be more tiring than the daily grind, so be prepared to stay calm, assertive, and consistent. Your child will not receive the attention they are used to at school and that will make them more out of control, so try not to lose patience.
10. Try to enjoy
No matter what happens, it is your vacation, so do your best to rest. The camps are a good idea for you and your partner to spend some time alone, but if that is not possible, try to have a family member or specialized caregiver stay with the children for a week while you gather energy to endure the holidays.