If you haven’t realized it yet, it is almost time for our children to be out of school for approximately two weeks for Winter Break. Whether you still have to work while your child is out on school break, or you have somehow managed to get time off to spend with him or her, you will want to have a plan in order to make the most of your child’s time off from school. There are many things that you can do to help keep your special needs child connected with what’s important during their winter break.
- Your child has a daily routine that will be disrupted due to being out of school while he is out on winter break. If he is anything like my special needs child, it will be like having a “monkey wrench” thrown into their routine or like the world has come to an end.Try to maintain as much of your child’s schedule as you possibly can, using your knowledge of what he does each day. If your child normally does something like board-work first thing in the morning or spends a certain amount of time on Math before lunch, you can help them review what he has been learning at school. Making a game of your child’s Science, Social Studies, Math Facts, or what the difference is between common nouns and proper nouns, will show your child that you know his or her daily schedule is important. You can make this a FUN experience, while still maintaining a similar routine, that your child can feel comfortable with over the winter break.
- Keep in mind is that your child will need to have some scheduled down time during his or her winter break. This will be especially important if inclement weather has your family stuck inside over the winter break vacation.No matter where you may be, your child needs to know that he has a “safe place” where they can be calm, relax and enjoy some quiet time. If your family has made plans to travel, or be away from home for the day, you will want to consider how you can accommodate your child. You might have to be creative, if you are out on a family excursion, when your child unexpectedly needs a break from his or her surroundings. It would be good to have a couple of things in mind beforehand. For example, my vehicle has a dvd player that has been instrumental in providing a way to calm my son, even before he was diagnosed six years ago. You could also carry an item with you, that interests your child, which will calm him or her and help your child to refocus their thoughts on something positive.
- If your child does have an interest in a particular item, you can use that item as a “focus point” to help your child keep calm and on task during his or her winter break. It can be a favorite toy, Pokemon card, stuffed animal or anything that your child has a strong attachment to. You can create a few simple rules in which your child can have access to this item during the day. Make them easy enough so that your child will have the opportunity to spend some quality time with their item of interest throughout the day and during his or her winter break. This will reinforce positive behavior and make your life more enjoyable!
- There are a variety of things you can plan over your child’s winter break. If you’re wanting to get out of the house for a few hours, your child can invite a close friend to join you for a couple of games at your local bowling alley, take an adventure to a local children’s’ museum or just a short outing to the park to play. If the plan is to stay close to home, you can always have a family movie afternoon, play board games together or enjoy reading a book to your child. You can always check your local area for special needs friendly activities that your child might enjoy participating in such as bowling, Christmas lights, holiday crafts, a visit with a Caring Santa and Christmas Stores, something like those that used to be available in elementary school for us to shop for our family members but, designed for special needs children.
Enjoy the time that you have with your child during their winter break! Have FUN and remember that these are the memories that they will remember the most!!
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