As a former teacher, I had many families who would come to me in May with a panicked look – how are we ever going to keep our child with autism busy, engaged, and happy this summer? There are a lot of daytime hours to fill and not nearly enough autism summer camps for our children with autism to fill them.
Creating a summer schedule with structured activities can definitely seem like a daunting task, but the payoff can be huge. This can be true for all of your children, but especially for your child with autism. Setting a schedule, even a ‘loose schedule, can help them (and you!) reduce anxiety and set expectations.
Consider what your child's typical summer day routine can look like, and block off the time in segments: get dressed & watch TV til 10am; 1 chore and 1 fun morning activity until 11:30am. As a hint, I like to include one activity that doesn't have a set ‘finished time' in each segment – so if getting dressed is a breeze this morning, then your child can spend more time watching TV. Or if getting dressed is really challenging one morning, it won't necessarily throw the schedule for the entire day.
Coming up with all of those activities to fill a day can be the challenging part, so here is a great autism tips blog post including 82 fun summertime things to do with your child with autism (and any of your younger children!).
And here's to a summer schedule helping you find the fun and relaxing moments – no one deserves a fun and stress-free summer more than you and your kiddos!