19 Jun Number One Mistake Parents Make During The Summer
Time and time again, with the absolute best of intentions, I observe parents making this mistake. They don’t keep a routine for their child. Yikes! Of course you want your child to have a fun summer. You envision him entertaining himself, playing outside all day in the sunshine, having fun, and enjoying all the downtime. I totally get it.
However, structure, routine, and consistency is SO important for your child…especially during the summer. You may think that because your child is not in school he will benefit from chilling out, relaxing, not having a visual schedule, and flying by the seat of his pants. Nope, for most children with autism that’s not the case.
The summer time is actually when you should be even more structured. Because your child doesn’t have the routine of school (or virtual learning), challenging behaviors are probably increasing. By simply creating a visual schedule for your child, EVERY SINGLE DAY (including weekends), you are doing him such a huge favor. When he knows what to expect, you are creating a calming environment.
When your child understands what his options are, that’s when he can truly relax. Relaxation looks different for him than you might actually expect. Even when you go on vacation, a routine and schedule will help him to feel more comfortable. When he doesn’t know what is happening, and isn’t sure what is next in his day, you may quickly observe a meltdown…and that’s not relaxing for anyone.
So, here’s what you can do, starting today. Write out his schedule, or better yet, use photographs to explain what is happening in his day. If you are unsure about the plan, you can put a “surprise” picture in the schedule. At least then he will know that something different and unexpected is about to happen.
All of this time at home isn’t easy for anyone (Covid blues anyone?), but with a few tweaks, you can create an environment that is predictable and more fun for everyone.
If you haven’t done so already, be sure to join our Awesome Autism Activities group. You will not only receive a recommended daily schedule, but you will also receive daily activities (and my Social Skills Workbook) to fill your days with structure and fun.