As a parent you may dread summer and the meltdowns or upset that comes with change in your child’s routine, but you are not alone. One of the biggest supports you can provide your child is structure to their summer. Now this does not mean you have to plan out everyday minute to minute, but it does mean adding consistency to their days.
Here are some ideas on how to set up structure and routine for your kids during the summer.
Creating a schedule as a family:
- Sit down as a family to discuss the summer routine. When all care givers are involved, you will have better success.
- Get older kids involved in helping with some ideas for the schedule.
- Try to have your kids eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the same time each day.
- Have set bedtimes, wake up times and routines. The times may not be as early as during the school year, but should be consistent throughout the entire summer.
- Integrate physical activities into your day.
- Consider summer activities (i.e. summer camps, sports, summer school, etc.). This will help them remain active and provide some added structure.
When transitions are difficult:
- Using a simple visual schedule of 2-3 pictures at a time can be helpful for younger children to follow and can decrease upset or anxiety around transitions.
- For older kids and teens sometimes using a calendar filled out with personal schedule can help them view and anticipate upcoming changes to a daily routine.
- Work with your OT to create a Sensory Diet.