Today is the first day of Michael’s Spring Break, and Spring Break for a lot of children and their families. For Exceptional Children Spring Break can be a great time, but there are also moments when it is hard on them. The trick is providing the right amount of structure with some downtime. The thing is, Exceptional Children need both just like all other children, but they each they own formula for what works. After all, they are just individuals like each of us. So, how does a parent know where to start? Well, in my case, following my parenting gut, I know what works best for Michael. He needs a lot less structured time than when he was younger, as well as some unstructured time. Dad and I have been learning how to fine tune some of his schedule to give him a mix of both. The thing is, we have to find the right combination or we will all have a really hard day with sensory overloads, anxiety and stress. What are some basic things parents can do to structure Spring Break? Here are 5 things:
- Plan out week on calendar: Plan out the weekly activities on a calendar or schedule. Make sure there are indoor and outdoor options as weather can be finicky, as well it allows for flexibility.
- Decide how early or late starting your day: Some kids are super excited they are up super early (like mine). Some kids like to sleep in. See in advance where your child falls and adjust your own sleep and wake schedule. You’ll be grateful you did!
- Make play dates in advance: If your child has friends or you have friends with kids their age, consider scheduling one or two play dates to get them out of the house. This will help with socializing.
- Let them have in unstructured or down time: In this time, let them do whatever they want, including stimming if that helps them unwind and balance their sensory system.
- Schedule in some parent down time early am or late pm: It’s important for Moms and Dads not to burn out so self-care is important too. It’s your vacation too as you are spending quality time with your child/dren, but it can quickly go out of hand if you are tired and stressed. Self-care is just as important this week as during other breaks like Christmas or Summer.
Exceptional Parents, how are you spending Spring Break? What are some of your tricks for enjoying it and surviving it intact, you and your child? All jokes aside, it really can be a fun time even if you stay in town and it seems less glamorous. Remember, it’s your attitude as a parent that can make it fun or not. Be adventurous, relax when you can, and don’t be afraid to have fun! Until next time.