Tips for Tackling Summer’s (No) Schedule

summer
Summertime can be a more relaxed time of year – school is out, vacations are planned, and the often non-stop days (school, therapies, sports, appointments, music lessons, etc, etc…) are scaled back for these few months. The slowdown may be a welcomed change for some, but for many parents, the lack of a regular routine can be challenging (and the source of many child meltdowns).

If you’re finding the no-schedule summer to be tough, the Washington Post shared some tips to help your child cope with this more relaxed time:

  • Make a visual calendar. Use a calendar to label “typical” summer days, weekends, vacations and holidays. Then create a “typical day” schedule that follows the school schedule as much as possible in terms of lunch time and breaks. It can be very specific if you like, or it can be more vague (brushing teeth, bath, etc).
  • Talk through plans (and alternate plans). Talk to your child about having a Plan A, but also a Plan B in case things don’t work out. For example, if you’re planning to go to the pool, tell him that if a storm comes up or the pool is closed, you might do something else, and that is your Plan B. Help your child learn to make contingency plans by talking to him when you have to adjust your own plans. By teaching him that it’s not the end of the world when plans change, you can help him learn how to regulate himself before he has a meltdown. 
  • Avoid developing bad habits. It can be tough to stick to a schedule during the summer, when you just want to relax and let go a little bit, but the more you can keep to a routine for meals and sleep, and continue to limit screen time, the more well-regulated your child is likely to be. 
  • Recognize the warnings. It’s important to know the signs that your child is getting overloaded and remove him from challenging situations before a meltdown if possible. 
  • Be positive. Keep things positive, always. With any child, it’s more effective to reward good behavior than to punish bad behavior… parents should try to praise their child four times for every one time they correct something.

Read the tips in full here.

Lynsey, Community Manager

Getting Ready for Fireworks

http://rsfireworks.net

http://rsfireworks.net

The 4th of July can be a fun holiday full of picnics, family time and, of course, fireworks. However, for many on the autism spectrum, loud noises like fireworks can be an extremely upsetting experience. And maybe you learned that the hard way in a past year. But don’t give up hope that fireworks can be part of your holiday – something that the whole family can enjoy together – it just may take a little prep ahead of time.

Here are some things you may want to consider if your 4th will include fireworks:

  • Practice – You may find that there are (sometimes smaller) local fireworks in the days leading up to the 4th of July weekend, so it may be good to do a test run. Talk about the fireworks in advance. Some of the anxiety comes from the unknown, or unexpected, so easing into a larger fireworks display with smaller shows could help alleviate the anxiety a bit.
  • Give a visual – Sometimes having a visual can help better communicate what to expect. You may want to watch fireworks online, or even read a book about going to see fireworks, to help prepare for the real thing.
  • Headphones – If the noise level is just too much – and your child can tolerate headphones (this is an item that usually needs time to get used to as well) – headphones can help cancel out the noise to that they are left just enjoying the beautiful color display.
  • Find a Quieter Place – It might be best to keep some distance between you and the fireworks, so, depending on the location, you may be to enjoy the fireworks from your car or from an outdoor space that is further away.

Whether fireworks are in your future or not, we hope you have a wonderful 4th of July!

Lynsey, Community Manager