Summer vacation is everyone’s favorite season, right? Well, for some families, summer can bring extra stressors and difficulties like childcare, safety, education, therapy, and new routines.
That’s why ABC Pediatrics compiled some helpful summer tips for you and your family this hot season. From camps to travel, summer brings a lot of ‘new’ into your family’s routine. Let’s make that transition a smooth one and help your summer float by with minimal hitches, tantrums, or breakdowns.
We’re in this together.
1. Avoid Surprises This Summer
Having a schedule in your summer can help just like it does during the school year. Review your schedule often with your child and talk about any changes that may be coming up. Surprises can often lead to bad days for children with ASD, so take that out of the equation by making sure communication is clear and schedules are staying as consistent as possible.
You can also plan for schedule tweaks, like if you are going to have a long day, bring something that can help entertain your child, so the day doesn’t seem too difficult or drawn out.
Sometimes it can help to let your child choose between two activities, depending on their functioning level. Alarms for bathroom breaks, check-ins, or sunscreen reapplication can be a great way to stay organized as well.
2. Snack Better This Summer
Make sure you always have healthy snacks when you will be away from home for a few hours. That way you can avoid food that will break schedules, be unhealthy, or take up time and resources.
Be careful that you don’t go too far off course though, as healthy snacks are only healthy if your child will actually eat them and new foods can often be a hurdle as well.
3. Practice for Vacations & Travel
Planning, scheduling, practicing, and more – vacations can seem like a difficult hill to climb alone, but there are many steps you can take to help your vacation go smoothly. Know that there will always still be little hurdles and bumps in the road – but it’s nothing you and your family can’t handle, especially when you’ve prepared.
Check out our vacation guide here, for all the tips you’ll need to make your family summer vacation a success!
4. Build a Summer Routine
Summer spontaneity isn’t as great as it seems, as families with ASD often need schedules and routines to help their children grow and stay happy and calm.
Whether this be by talking about the week’s plans, planning for vacations and keeping some remnants of your normal schedule, or even just following the morning or weekend routine you do during the school year, having a routine is a lifeline for many.
We recommend marking plans on a calendar (or a visual day chart) and going over future plans either a day or even a week in advance with your child. Especially if you’re doing something unusual, use pictures, social stories, and role playing to help your child prep for the changes.
Also, always have a backup if your plans depend on the weather or other fickle factors. For example: ‘if it’s sunny we’ll go to the beach, but if it’s rainy we’ll go to the indoor pool’.
5. Consider Summer Autism Camps
Some children love summer camps, some do not – for children who need the school experience, but catered to their level and skills, consider ABC Pediatrics’ Autism camps. They aren’t summer camps, and your child won’t spend the night, lessening the anxiety, but they still get to have a fun, educational, and special experience.
If the Autism camp works well for your family and child, you can continue it through the school year, as our camps are not seasonal, but all year round!
6. Build in Me Time This Summer, Too
All the above tips are things you can do for your child to make their summer go smoothly, but you need to take care of yourself and make time for your partner and ‘me time’ as well.
Everyone’s health is important, which means you need to care for yourself if you want to be able to care for others. Let’s do it right this summer – and let’s do it together.