Now that the excitement of the holidays has subsided, it is now December 26th and you, or rather, the kids have at least one week of NO SCHOOL! The thought of entertaining the kids throughout the entire day can be daunting. The best way to combat this stress is to arm yourself with a bag full of activities. This may mean you need to fight the crowds and head over to your local craft store, or limit play with the new toys that Santa has delivered so they can be incorporated as a new activity during the week. As you would plan out your meals if you were on a diet, you need to plan your activities for the days ahead and be prepared.
Here are a few simple things that can help you beat the no school boredom and prevent behavior problems.
- Use a schedule board to indicate to the child the list of activities ahead of them for the day. If your child does not read, pictures of each activity to indicate what is next. More than likely, your child has a visual schedule board at school and one for his/her home program. Therefore, creating one for the entire day at home will provide for them prompts and a sense of structure for the day. For your neuro-typical kids, this can be helpful in reducing the incessant asking of “what are we going to do…I’m bored”.
- Plan activities. Incorporate activities that require both interactive and independent work. Be sure to rotate or evenly space out the time for an interactive activity and an independent activity. Independent activities can be taken from mastered programs in your home program. For example, puzzles or games that the child was taught to do on their own.
- Go outside as an activity. Take advantage of the beautiful California weather. Schedule your activities so that you are outside in the afternoon, go to the park, or play in the backyard. The kids run around quite a bit at school and they need the same amount if not more when they are not in school.
- Try a Community outing. For you locals, Disneyland, Knot’s Berry Farms, and the Long Beach Aquarium are all community outings that I’m sure will entertain. On a budget? As we know, all of those amusement parks could get pricey. Instead of the aquarium, go to your local fish store. The kids will be able to look at the fish for free and will likely still get the same excitement. I know my kids enjoy it.
- Schedule a Play Date. It’s always nice to get the kids together, but more importantly it’s nice to be able to at least commiserate with a fellow caregiver J
Now that you know what I’ll be doing during this winter break, I hope these suggestions are helpful for you. It is also important to remember that it is vacation so a day of non-structure and snuggling in front of the television with your little ones is more than okay.
Dr. Junie, BCBA-D