Oh my goodness. I can’t believe it is only TUESDAY!! My wonderful, amazing, energetic and loving Boy has off all week-long for spring break. That means 9 days without services and Hubby and I running without a break. That is rough on a family, let me tell you!
So, let me cut to the chase since I am ready to crash on the couch and try to recover. I don’t even want to think about tomorrow, but I must if I plan on making it through this school break without tons of meltdowns and miserable kids. I’m going to give you all my top 3 tips to surviving when your child has off from school for extended periods of time. It’s not rocket science, but when your brain is mush (like mine is right now!) it is helpful to have a list to look at so you can refocus, regroup and then charge back into battle:
- Have some structure in your day. I don’t mean that you have to run a full on school day in your home, but your child will feel much better if the main times are kept the same. If he/she usually has lunch at 11:30, recess and then a snack at 2, try to accommodate that at home as well. Children with special needs tend to like routine and this small step can eliminate a lot of heartache for both parent and child.
- Build sensory needs into your routine. If you have a sensory kiddo at home, then chances are that you already have sensory ‘things’ you do at home to get through the night. Now realize that your child isn’t getting any input from his/her therapies at school during the day. You need to up the ante at home. An hour-long bath in the afternoon plus the bedtime bath – not a bad idea!! Let your child play in a dish pan in the sink with bubbles, grab some play-doh or moon sand, dig outside in the dirt, carry rocks from your garden, pull a wagon or push a wheelbarrow, take some time to swing on the swings or climb the rock wall at a local park. Whatever your child’s needs are – you will need to fill them while they are off from school. If you forget to do this, after a few days you will be faced with a sensory deprived child who is a very unhappy camper indeed <3
- Finally – DO SOMETHING FUN!! Your child is home with you for days on end. You may be counting the hours until you can crash in your bed, but don’t forget that this is supposed to be a time that parents take to bond with their children and do something enjoyable. What does your child enjoy? Pick something that works with your child so that you can enjoy the time rather than feel stressed. Maybe strapping him/her into a stroller and going for a walk in the park would be enjoyable. Maybe a trip to a sparsely populated lake or beach. We love to go to a local creek with hiking trails so that the Boy can throw rocks in the water. It fills his sensory needs (they are some BIG rocks) and the rest of the kids get to look at the wildlife, play in the water and just run around being kids.
The BEST is when there is a park right there too. We can all be together. A family.
Whatever happens over school break, make sure you take a few moments to recharge yourself. Self-care is of the utmost importance. You won’t be able to care for everyone else if you don’t care for yourself. It is hard when we don’t have someone take our child for a few hours and we are constantly going. We are on high alert during break and we go long periods of time without ‘down’ time. Putting your body through extended periods of stress is unhealthy.
So take a moment. It may be the 25 seconds you have to go to the bathroom today. Maybe your child is happily playing on a device for a short time. Seize the moment to care for yourself. This week all I can manage is to make myself a cup of tea, and diffuse some Lemon or Stress Away essential oil to keep my spirits up. I plan to do some serious self-care come Monday when The Boy is BACK IN SCHOOL!!