Summer has been here for one week, and I am enjoying every second I can get outside to soak up the sun! Summer is a fantastic time to engage in new experiences with your students or children, but it can also be difficult to have a successful day during unstructured summer fun. I recently posted this article on helping children cope with relaxed summer days on our Facebook page. These are great tips, but I have a few more to guarantee your summer days run as smoothly as possible.
Have a Back-Up Plan
The article suggested that you always have a Plan B for when things don’t go as expected. I find that a social story discussing back up plans and unexpected changes is helpful as well. You can read this story at the start of each day to call on in moments of stress to make the transition from Plan A to Plan B a little easier.
Practice Coping Skills
Take some time each week to practice different coping skills so your child can retrieve them more easily during times of distress. Some of my favorite coping skills are deep breathing, taking a one-minute jump break, and body squeezes. My recent song, yoga relax, provides a guided deep breathing activity accompanied by a soothing string harmony to help keep children calm. You can store this song on your phone and play it during times of distress to aid in relaxation and regulation.
When I take my clients out into the community, I always have a backpack full of items to make the day successful. I keep visual choice boards of break options (coping skills) so we can make a good choice in the heat of a situation, like we practiced. I also carry headphones and an assortment of sensory tools for those moments when we unexpectedly have to wait or the weather doesn’t go in our favor. I posted a list of some of my favorite sensory tools last September. You can find even more sensory tools at the Sensory Kids Store or online from Therapy Shoppe.
Try New Things
Though it can be scary, sometimes children are most successful during novel, exciting experiences! Don’t be afraid to try new things that you think they will enjoy and will benefit their development. With the tips above, you will be able to handle most challenges that come your way. If you are in the Chicago area, check out this list of 100 free activities to do with your child this summer. There are also many sensory-friendly events coming up at water parks and beaches all over town. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for events we love all summer long. If you live outside of Chicago, TimeOut or your state Visitor Information website will have a list of hundreds activities that might be engaging for your child!
Make Your Own Fun at Home
Long lines, loud noises, and lots of people may not be the best situation for your child at this time, even with sensory and emotional supports, and that’s okay! There are plenty of ways to engage your child and practice skills through awesome activities at home. This list from Friendship Circle is full of structured ideas to keep your little one learning all summer long.
I can’t wait to see all of the learning your child engages in this summer through these new, exciting experiences. What are some of your favorite activities to do with your child in the summer time? Let me know in the comments below!
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