Summer is in full swing and you may be feeling a bit stressed having your children home from school all day. Maybe you have some camps or vacation planned. But inevitably there are those days that your child may be home without a structured day. If you have a child on the spectrum this can be exceptionally challenging. If you want to reduce your child's anxiety and your stress by creating a predictable environment for your child, then taking a few minutes to develop a visual schedule may be exactly what you need.
There are so many benefits to a visual schedule. If your child doesn't need the visual aspect, then a schedule will also work out fine.
Why follow a plan for the day?
You Get More Accomplished
Your Child Will Get Far Less Screen Time (refer to our Interactive Screen Time blog for details)
Your Child Will Be Less Likely To Experience Anxiety and Stress
Your Child Will Be Less Likely To Have Meltdowns
Your Child Will Feel Safer
You Will Feel More In Control Of Your Day
What To Include In Your Plan
Medical literature concurs that children should be exposed to three things for optimal brain development:
Organized sports can be as simple as swim team, softball, soccer, tennis, golf or basketball. There are so many to choose from and there are even peewee lacrosse teams in some areas. Making sure your child is given rules to follow is a very important aspect of organized sports. They may be team sports or individual.
Music can be introduced at home with a piano, recorder, xylophone or ukulele. Or you can choose a local Kindermusik program or private lessons. I went to The World Market and bought an accordian and a harmonica. At 10,000 Villages I found a set of pan pipes and a drum. With those instruments along with an ancient recorder and flute from my childhood, we created a decent collection that all of my children have enjoyed. My dog joins in the fun when we bring out the instruments and she howls along with the melody. We'll post a video of her soon.
If your child takes a foreign language at school, then you can take a break over the summer. If you child doesn't get any foreign language during the school year, then finding a local language program like Play Spanish, Muzzy's see, say, listen and learn method or another of your choosing can become a pivotal part of your child's daily routine as well as contributing to brain development.
Additional Daily Activities
Here is a list of some activities that your child can enjoy this summer:
- unstructured outdoor play time
- arts & crafts
- games and puzzles
- bicycle riding
- pool time
- walking the dog
- pet care like cleaning fish tank, brushing dog etc.
- library time
- reading at home
- writing (journaling)
As you can see there is no limit to what your child can enjoy doing over the summer. My girls are journaling all summer long. We started this last summer when we went to Europe and now they are enjoying writing about things they are doing at home and with friends. Of course there are some activities that your child may not enjoy doing or may not be able to do. Pick what works best for your child and your family.
How To Create A Visual Plan
You can hand draw a plan yourself, have your child create one or visit a website that allows you to set one up. An example of an easy to use site is AutiPlan. Once your schedule is created, show it to your child and allow him or her to show you when is next on the agenda. This gives your child a sense of control and also helps with the transition to a daily routine. Comments are enabled on this blog so that you can give us feedback regarding how your daily routine has benefitted your family.