While spring break is a time of celebration for many kids because it means a week off school, it can be a time of both joy and dread for parents – especially those with special needs children who thrive on routine and structure. Time off school and away from a familiar routine can be tough on children with special needs; this is because it is something out of the ordinary. It is unpredictable. This can, in turn, lead to the emergence of undesirable behaviors.
Tips for Planning for Spring Break
Whether your family is going somewhere on vacation or just relaxing at home, here a few ways to make things more enjoyable for everyone and help keep your children on track:
- Stick to a routine: If your child always goes to bed at 8 p.m. and wakes up at 6 a.m., try to keep this same schedule throughout break. Not only will this help with consistency, it also makes it easier to transition back to their normal schedule once school resumes. Keeping evening routines the same as well can also help. While this is not always easy or convenient, maintaining as much familiar routine as possible can be beneficial.
- Give advanced notice: Your child’s schedule will already be unbalanced because they are not in school, so try to prepare them ahead of time for the day’s events so they know what to expect. Let them know about activities you have planned and how you anticipate things happening. If things change, try to give them as much forewarning as possible.
- Plan fun activities: What are some of your child’s favorite things to do? If they love going to the park, the museum or a special store, make arrangements to do these things. Come up with activities that keep them entertained, learning and practicing skills they have been working on in school and therapy.
- Uphold expectations: You may have to be a little flexible depending on the situation, but let your child know that your expectations for their behavior is still the same as always, regardless of whether they’re in school. The same rewards and consequences still apply.
Spring break can be a time of fun and relaxation if you plan ahead and are prepared to deal with whatever comes your way. For more strategies on managing your child’s needs and behavior during spring break, contact the team at PediaPlex.
Share with us some of your own tips for spring break and how you avoid setbacks!