Spring Break For Autism Families
Every single school age kid looks forward to every single day that they do not have to go to school. Every weekend and every break are eagerly anticipated like some kind of wonderful reward for making it through the school week. Unfortunately, as parents, and especially as parents of children with autism, these breaks can become just the opposite of that.
Just the term “Spring break” should elicit happy feelings in your soul as you were programmed from childhood all the way to young adulthood. Unfortunately, as we inched our way into our lives as parents of children with special needs, the tem “Spring break” slowly became less and less of a wonderful, happy time, and more and more of a time filled with stress and problems.
Parents of autistic children face a slew of different problems accompanied by spring break. Firstly, it could interrupt our schedule as adults. Secondly, our children may be more prone to autistic behaviors during Spring break. Now, we may not be able to help what happens in our schedule’s to a full extent, but as parents, it is necessary that we keep important and any official business scheduled away from Spring break as possible. This way we can give the increased attention to our children that is needed.
When it comes to avoiding our children’s autistic behaviors, however, there is much we can do in this regard. We want to keep our children entertained, occupied, and happy during their breaks. We love our children with all our hearts, but we also love our sanity, and keeping our children from becoming restless can satisfy both of these loves. What, though, are some things that we can do?
Your first priority during this time should be to stay organized!
Staying organized doesn’t just mean mentally. You should come up with a good schedule, preferably one that your kids can see. Having a list of activities that your kids can look forward to throughout the day and the week can keep them focused on what is ahead and never become restless and get thrown into a behavior. It is even more important to stick to the schedule. If you write out a schedule for your children, then back out or forget what was planned, this can be detrimental to your kids. Although having a certain snack or walking to the park might seem like a trivial part of our day, it can literally mean the world to a child with autism, and we need to understand that.
Another helpful tip can be to make sure your child is occupied with something during the times where you need your own peace, for example, while you are drinking your coffee in the morning. But what are some examples of things to do with your kids during this break?
- Go on a day trip a few times during Spring break.
This can be something like going to the beach, the park, a hike, or the zoo, all depending on your child’s specific abilities. When preparing for these trips it would be best to involve your child in the preparation to teach them independence, increase their self-esteem, and supplement their mood. If your child isn’t able to help pack lunch, then it would be best to have everything ready the night before to reduce stress.
- Have a list of daily chores for your child on days where you can’t leave the house.
Chores keep your autistic child stimulated and their hands busy. This can be a great way of reducing their stress and avoiding a behavior. Involving your kids in cooking lunch or dinner with you, or at least preparing simple snacks can also be helpful and fun. Anything that is a good bonding experience will ultimately be rewarding for the both of you.
- Make the nights calm and fun by having family movie nights.
Watching movies as a family, or letting your children watch movies on their own can keep them stimulated and happy. You can make it even better by making them popcorn or letting them make popcorn themselves.
A final word of recommendation is to make sure you have your shopping for the family done before your children get out of school so you don’t unexpectedly have to interrupt your schedule with a necessary shopping trip if it could prove to be stressful.
There are many different activities you can do with your autistic children throughout Spring break. Lets all work together as a powerful #autismarmy to help each other come up with more good ideas to involve our children in during Spring break. Remember, it takes a village to raise a child, but it takes an army to raise our autistic children!