June 5th, 2019
This article was originally published on Autism Educates on April 21, 2019.
With summer just around the corner for many families, I wanted to share a few strategies that may make the transition much easier for you and your child.
- Use a calendar to mark off the days. Write down the words Last Day of School and Summer Break Starts on a calendar. Let your child mark off the days leading up to this big transition. Also, be sure to mark down on your calendar when school starts back up, so your child knows that he will actually be going back to school.
- Many families think that they should give their child a break from their routine during the summer. However, please remember, your child thrives off of structure and knowing what is happening in his day. Even though you may enjoy having no plan, this concept may totally stress your child out. So, if your child is not enrolled in a summer camp or other type of program, please be sure to use a visual schedule so he knows what to expect every day in your home.
- Even if you go on a vacation with your child, use a schedule. Show him pictures of this place ahead of time so he knows what to expect.
- If your child is going to camp, be sure to find out the rules and expectations ahead of time. Show your child pictures of the camp. If possible, bring him to camp beforehand and introduce him to the staff. Show him around the building. Find out the schedule and visually explain the day to your child.
- Before school gets out, talk to the classroom teacher about which children your child has been connecting with. Give the teacher your phone number and ask her (or him) to share your info with other parents. Foster friendships and set up playdates over the summer.
- Ask the teacher for a homework packet, or recommendations of strategies and activities that you should work on with him over the summer. We don’t want your child to lose any valuable learned skills over the summer.
- Have fun during the summer, but avoid challenging new routines. We want your child to relax, unwind, and disconnect from school. However, try your best to not get him in a routine that will be incredibly difficult to break before school starts. For example, if you let him stay up much later during the summer, how challenging is this going to be to break before school starts. If he gets more electronics time during the week, is this new habit going to be stressful to undo during the school year? Set you and your child up for success.
What is the school-to-summer transition like for your child?