Summer vacation is a time to recharge. Many of the students that I see in my practice are especially glad for the summer break due to stress around social relationships, following rules, paying attention, sitting still, and generally working extra hard to accomplish what most of their peers can accomplish with seeming ease.
Some report to me that they look forward to doing nothing during the summer and just want to “chill out”, sleep late, watch television and play video games, and most of all, to relax. The pressures of the school year are often overwhelming for kids who struggle to learn and fit in.
Yet, as many parents know, it is important to maintain some sort of routine and structure during the summer. Children do better when they know what to predict and what is going to happen next. A structured summer program is one way to have a ready-made routine and there are many options to choose from, depending on your child’s interests and your budget. Camp sessions can range from one week long to most of the summer. There are some camps that are specifically geared toward working with children with special needs and they might include academic support and social skills experiences for part of the day.
There are many other ways to provide your child with a safe, exciting and fun summer vacation. Many parents prefer to arrange an individualized summer schedule for their children. This might include a combination of activities that could consist of daily swim lessons, and in home projects like arts and crafts, cooking, and science experiments. Trips to a museum, the library, or zoo or amusement park can add extra interest. Planning activities with friends increases the enjoyment as your child shares his experiences with peers.
Planning a summer experience for your child can be fun especially if you include your child in some of the decision-making. It is important to remember that most children do best when they have some sort of routine built into their day. While free time should definitely be part of your child’s summer experience, some routine and structure will help maintain a balance to the day and your child will be happy to know what is in store for the next day.