Winter break is coming and finding a balance between keeping your child occupied while also enjoying a bit of down time can be stressful. Some families may need a structured break that includes routines similar to those when in school, while others might want a more unstructured break. Whatever your needs are, preparing early can help decrease some of the anxiety that you or your child may be feeling.
Here are five tips to help support changes in routine due to the upcoming winter break:
1. Use a calendar to show what days your child will be in school and the days they will be home. You can cross the days off on the calendar as you count down to the holidays.
2. Prepare a social narrative with information about the break and what you will be doing. Social narratives are written stories with accompanying images that describe a social situation your child may encounter and how they can respond. It can describe where you are going, who will be there, how long you will be there and other important details to help your child. You can view an example narrative about the upcoming winter break made by Autism Little Learners here. Please note that this is an example and each narrative should be individualized to the child.
3. Incorporate the use of a visual schedule with information about what is going to happen each day and in what order. You can learn how to create a visual schedule for your child from our DIY Visual Schedule Kinark Kreates video below!
4. Follow parts of your usual routine, such as eating at the same time or keeping bedtime and wakeup times similar when possible. This may help children that require routine transition back to school more successfully.
5. Prepare ahead of time if you will be attending any gatherings. Consider bringing any items that might be helpful to take with you (e.g., headphones or an activity to keep your child busy during down times), think about the foods that will be available and pack a snack or other options if needed.
The most important thing is to enjoy this time with your child and family. If you’re looking for activities to keep your child busy during the break, you can try an outdoor scavenger hunt, make a fort with boxes and blankets, create a winter themed craft, do a Lego challenge or have the kids help with meal prep. You can also check out our Kinark Kreates videos for fun crafts, song and dance, circle time ideas and more!
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