A Parent’s Perspective: Summer Planning

Something not often discussed is how to transition your child to summer and all its activities.

These transitions can be very difficult for our children and consequently on our families and ourselves. And also, the siblings.

We have put in our fair share of summers so I thought I would give you some of my tried-and-true bits of advice:

What is the best way to start?

This is to plan as best you can:

To decide where you want your child to go for camp or activities.

And what activities they would like to do.

Then you would do the research for that place, that camp, that day program and those little activities, like summer reading at the library. Try to find our all you can about that them.  The who, what, where when and how many.

Go to their website and really look.

Check out their social media for photos to help paint the picture better for you.

Then you would do the Vetting process such as calling to talk to someone about these things on your list. Asking questions about the ins and outs of the programs.

Such as what does a day really look like at camp, or how many kids are in the reading program at the same time.

Finding out what truly is involved in a typical day will help you see if it is a fit for your child or if it might be too much for them right now.

Be aware that on paper, things might look amazing.  They may tell you one thing as you call to ask but then you can come to find that in reality it is not the same.  One summer, we signed Elizabeth up for camp because she literally LOVED camp.  Not my other two kids, they never went.  But Elizabeth could not wait.  Everyone in our town loved this place it seemed.  So I did all the above steps but one.  And I was going to see the place first.  So when I went to get Elizabeth on the second day, she was surrounded by what seemed like 50 kids running around with 2 workers there.

Ummm? Yeah, NO!  This was not what was promised at all.

GO TO SEE THE PLACES– I capitalized this one for a reason!

A drop in visit gets you the best, most real results.

See is what they say matches what your eyes see.

Then go from there with your decision.

If all looks good,
Schedule a time to talk to that about your child and their needs.

Now is not the time to keep things to yourself and hope that because it is summer, and it is just fun stuff that your child will be just fine without you laying the groundwork.  Because by experience, I will tell you that will not happen.  Little Elizabeth was hiding behind a chair one time because she was just overloaded, and the workers could not wait until I got there to ask me all about it.  I learned fast on this one. I offer that you share the IEP. After all, those who will be working with her want to know, should know and with the information can understand your child better from the start.

Help your child by showing them photos and communicating with them about these new places/activities. 
Maybe take them to see these things , take them to see and meet the people. Start off slow.-maybe one day a week and see how it goes. Or maybe a few hours at first, then do more.

Send a communications notebook for your child. Let them circle the number on a scale for key things you need to know. Such as “Did my child have a meltdown?” No writing needed.
It’s quicker and easier for them and they will actually do it. And you can see how your child is doing every day. And it is a great way to communicate.

Watch for signs of stress or overload. Feel free to call and talk with staff often as needed.

Help them have the best time they can!

I think the thing I’ve learned is to treat summer like an extension of a school year and to keep all the balls in the air well.

Keep notes about summer to share with the school in the fall, and for any IEP changes you will be making in the fall.

Schedule time at home to decompress.

Show or talk about the schedule each day so that they know what is coming each day.

Enjoy the down time and if you want, tuck in some work on a skill you want them to work on.

Above all though,
Have fun and Make memories!!!

See you next month!

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