Summer can be a challenging time. Kids love that they are out of school and that the weather is nice enough to play outside a lot. But they often get bored quickly, and then they start pestering parents to keep them entertained. For parents who work outside the home, it can be a challenge to find things for the kids to do while also keeping them supervised during the day.
If you have children who have special needs, creating a summer plan can be even more challenging, depending on what your child’s needs are. Here are a few tips for things you can do to create a summer plan for all your children, including those with special needs and those without, so that they have a great time:
Going to summer camp is a beloved tradition for many children. You can sign your kids up for weekly day camps, or you can find a sleepaway camp that lasts for a couple of months or even all summer. There are camps to suit every interest. You can sign up for something general, like a Girl Scout camp, or you can sign up for something that appeals to a specific interest, such as a cooking camp.
If you have children with special needs, there are camps designed just for them, as well. Camp Barnabas (https://www.campbarnabas.org/) is designed for both children with special needs and their siblings, so you could send all your children to one location without having to worry about coordinating separate schedules or about splitting up the children for the summer.
Camping, fishing, hiking, and playing sports are just some of the many activities that kids and families love doing over the summer. You can easily arrange some afternoon or day trips if you live near some suitable spots. However, if you live farther away from such places, or you have children with sensory disorders or even mobility issues, you may find doing these activities to be a bit more challenging.
You can certainly still enjoy these activities with some modifications. For example, if camping is prohibitive because one sibling needs to be close to home medical equipment or has sensory issues, you can pretend to camp in your own backyard with a small tent and a little fire pit. You can roast smores and pretend to sleep in the tent for a bit during the day. At night, some siblings may choose to stay in the tent with one parent while the other may return inside with the other parents. Think creatively to figure out how you can make such activities work for your whole family while still having fun.
No matter where you live in the United States, it’s hot during the summer. In some places, it’s downright unbearable. Almost all kids love to swim in the summertime, even when they don’t know how. Depending on how old your children are and what their abilities are, you can enjoy “swimming” with a small wading pool in your backyard or by going somewhere like a community pool, lake, or beach.
If you go to a deeper body of water, always take what you will need to keep all children protected, including floaties and life jackets. Special devices are available for children in wheelchairs or with other special needs so that they can also enjoy water fun. Some community pools also have these devices available and have special access for those with physical disabilities.
Some children don’t like crowds, and they can become overwhelmed by too many noises or smells. That doesn’t mean that you have to avoid theme parks or special attractions during the summer. Check with the park to find out if a special day is offered for those with different needs. Sometimes, parks close down to offer quieter times or to offer special activities that are accommodated to those with different needs.
It can sometimes feel tough trying to get through the summer with kids, and coming up with activities can be even more challenging when you have some children with special needs. Using these tips will help you keep your whole family busy all summer long without any challenge.