How to Keep Your Child on a Routine During Winter Break
Therapies and Resources for Children with Autism & Families
Your child has finally adjusted to the routine of the school year, knowing what to expect when it comes to morning wake-up times and bedtimes, riding the bus home with classmates, and becoming more familiar and comfortable with classmates and the school environment. He is learning important social skills and behaviors, and you are very pleased with his progress. However, the question looms – what will happen when school goes on break for the busy holiday season?
Breaks from school can be difficult for children who have become used to the direction and routine they follow at school, as well as at home. Losing this structure can be frustrating for your child, and it may make it more difficult to readjust to the regular routine once the break is over. There are options that may help you prepare for winter break in advance and keep your child on a consistent routine:
Create a daily visual schedule. This will take some time and planning but will be the foundation of your winter break routine. All children can benefit from structure and routine over winter break, but your child with special needs will especially appreciate the visual schedule, likely familiar to his schedule at school. You can detail the normal steps in your child’s wake-up and bedtime routine and leave room within the schedule for any special events or activities that you have planned for break that are outside the norm. Once you are done, hang the schedule in a place where everyone in your family can easily view it.
Plan ideas for activities outside the home in advance. You don’t want to be stumped for things to do once break arrives! Look ahead at any events or activities you may want to incorporate into your schedule. This might include story time at the local library, discount or free days at a museum, a trip to the zoo, or even a visit to the playground on a mild winter day.
Practice time management. Set expectations for time, no matter what you are doing. And, if you plan to incorporate some down time into your child’s routine, have ideas ready for him to choose – options could be reading, drawing, doing a craft, coloring, or watching a movie.
Consider a winter break camp. There are unique winter break camps designed for children with special needs. For example, if your child is between the ages of 12 and 15 and you live in the Greater Cleveland or Akron region, consider Camp Snow Cubs, led by licensed speech-language therapists at Peak Potential Therapy. Camp Snow Cubs helps children continue to develop important social and communication skills during the winter break from school. You can register your child online to reserve his or her spot.
We provide therapeutic services for children with autism or other special needs living in Northeast Ohio. If we can offer any support or guidance for you and your family, please do not hesitate to reach out. Recently, we expanded our services to include online speech therapy for children in Ohio. Contact us to learn more.