Getting Ready for Summer
Updated: Jun 20, 2019
How to keep stress and anxiety down for your Autistic Child
Summer is here! No more homework, packing lunches, or even rushing out the front door. Summer is the time to not follow schedules, but for fun and relaxation! However, for an autistic child, not following a schedule is anything but fun and relaxing. It can cause stress and anxiety.
As a parent, when summer came around I was so relieved for down time. Just to go with the flow and plan activities day by day. It was going to be so nice. But what I found was anything but nice, it was CHAOTIC! My kids did not do well with go with the flow…
I learned fast that my kids needed to follow a schedule to keep their anxiety at bay. Here is what I learned…
Just like in school, keep a weekly schedule of activities that are visible. For days that are spent at home, break down the day into activities. (Play time, Electronic Time, Lunch, Reading, walk, outside play, etc..) Going on a long flight or car ride… Wrap small presents so they can open a present each hour for a reward for good behavior. Always make time for Reading! When going to new places, make a safety plan with your child if they get overwhelmed. What happens if… Then we do… Always have snacks and water available. Let your child have input with the schedule.
The goal is to teach your child how to handle new places and down time. Expose your child to many different places and activities. Don’t get discourage if they don’t want to try anything, but just observe. Most likely they just need to watch the activity from start to finish before they attempt to join in. A second trip may be needed before your child actually participates. Respect what they like and don’t like. After each trip or activity, ask what was fun and what wasn’t so great, so you can choose different activities for the future. By the end of summer your child will be making their own schedule and safety plan so they can have a fun and relaxing summer!