It’s that time of year again! Everyone has worked hard over the long term and its finally time for a well-deserved break over the holidays.
While this may sound great in theory, it’s not the case for many families with children who have an ASD. The unstructured time over the holidays can bring anxiety, stress, behavioural issues and non-compliance to name a few.
Here are a few tips to make holiday’s more enjoyable for all:
- Visual schedules! Help eliminate the ‘grey areas’ of the day by assisting your kids in knowing what to expect and what is coming up next.
- Consistent bed times! While it’s ok to stay up slightly later than usual, a good night’s sleep can set you up for a good day. It also helps when transitioning back into the school term, as you’re not needing to re-establish routines that you have worked so hard to create! Similarly, ensure your wake-up time is reasonably similar to school routines as well. You can achieve this by setting up expectations the night before, alarm clocks, visuals etc.
- Keep breakfast, snack, lunch and dinner times the same as during the school term. This is a great way to break down your day and schedule it for your little one.
- Allow lots of down time! This is your child’s chance to recharge their batteries. Don’t feel guilty about your child retreating into their ‘safe’ world and engage in their special interests.
- Provide lots of preparation for special activities! This could be; looking at the website of the scheduled activity, a social story, or simply a chat about what to expect.
- For older kids, you can create a 2-week visual calendar to assist them in seeing what is on for each day of the holidays. This is a great opportunity to show them when they can turn ‘school-brain’ off and when the need to turn their ‘school-brain’ back on e.g. in the last 2 days of the holidays. This can be beneficial for the ‘worriers’ who spend their holidays stressing about school.
Don’t forget to contact your therapist if you need support to set up for a relaxing and enjoyable school holiday break.
Give us a call or send us an email – we will be waiting
Blog Post: Kate Neilson, Occupational Therapist at Kid Link OT