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Summer Fun For Exceptional Families-Finding The Balance

As usual but in a different way, Michael had a difficult start to the summer and me with him. Every year there seems to be something that carries over. I also know that the break of routine with school is hard for him, as much as he likes to be home. He also likes to be busy. Anyone who knows Michael and our family, knows that we keep him busy. He is a curious, energetic and social kid. Staying home is not for him. Even with the emotional struggles he has been going through, I have noticed that, as always, there is his spirit of resilience. He is so hard on himself. He fears a lot. Yet he is one of the most fearless people I know. I tell him this. I tell him, “you are my hero. I admire your energy, your excitement about learning new things. And now, I’m not sure if it’s maturity, puberty, or something else, but he is more conscious of how he wants to self-regulate and control his emotions. He pretty much likes the same activities he liked as a child, but now has the patience to stay at them longer. It’s great, and especially on those days when your child is stressed, keeping them active can really help with regulation.

Here are my suggestions for fun inexpensive things to do with your exceptional tween over the summer:

  1. Swimming at local pool or splash pads: This is a must with our hotter and hotter summers. Michael now could spend a good two to two and a half hours or more frolicking at these places.
  2. Parks playing sports: Yes, he will still go on swings and slides, but does not like the little parks with no fields anymore. His main interest is playing soccer in the field, and possibly tennis and basketball in the courts with me or a friend.
  3. Library: He loves to read tween literature and fantasy to boot! He reads to me now, and when he stumbles over words, it’s a great time to bond while I explain it to him.
  4. Art: Painting, clay or any other means of self-expression is something a child this age can do to burn off steam
  5. Movies: Yes, once our kids are able to sit still calmly and focus, take them to matinees. It’s a great way to pass the afternoon.
  6. Structured activities: Most communities now have adapted sports activities for kids though some exceptional kids do fine with smaller teams. We always do soccer, and sometimes tennis over the summer. There are lots of options. See what interests your child.
  7. Camp: Even if it’s not for a long time, camp usually gives exceptional kids a different chance to be active, meet new faces, and grow. There are lots of options.

Exceptional Parents, how are you looking to keep your little ones busy? The most important thing to do is balance out unstructured time at home with a camp or structured activity. This usually means that kids get a balance and are happier over the summer when  a lot of their regular structure is gone. Here’s to good times ahead with your child. Until next time.

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Finding the Balance of Meeting Your Own Needs and Your Exceptional Child’s

This is  a toughie. We all know as parents how important it is to take care of our children. In their childhood is when their perceptions of life, health and learning are found. They learn about their worth through us, their parents. So what we do and not do has a big impact. But what about us as parents? What if we can’t take care of our children? What if we are sick, physically or psyschologically? What if we need lots of time to heal. Well, the next thing we need to do is take care of ourselves so that we can be strong for our children. And if we have problems being strong for them, we find people who can be in our absence so they have a good example and we can heal.

Parents need to give themselves the right to heal or to have down time. It’s what makes things work well with their child. Over the years I’ve had my ups and downs as a parent and individual. Lately, what has been working for Michael and I is though is that I have been being clear when I need to work, when I am taking some me time, and when I am with him. He doesn’t always understand that I work at doing different things. He will say it is his time now and no one else’s. I don’t need to work. And then I do feel guillty as I mostly work from home so I am hone but not home. My home office works most of the time, but sometimes there are even issues with this when he is home. I have learned though to block off appropriate time with Michael, for work, and for me for down time, though that is in short supply these days. My key goal for April is to replenish my energy a little more. How do I do it? We plan out a schedule on paper and talk about this in advance if there are no or very little misunderstandings.

Exceptional parents, how do you balance meeting your own needs and your child’s? This is such a delicate thing, but so important . Our kids need us to be strong for them , for us , and for the family. We need to be honest with how we are affected by our emotions, take our kids to be responsible for theirs, and move forward together in confidence. Until next time.