Our last day of the school year is this Friday, and it’s not even a full school day. It’s called a turn-around day. Seriously. The buses come and pick up the high school kids and drop them off at the high school. Then they go around and pick up the elementary kids and drop them off at their school. Then the high school kids go home. Lastly, the little kids go home. While in the building, they all get handed their report cards. The whole process starts around 7:10 and ends around 8:45. My son is gone about an hour. Then let the chaos that is summer break begin!
In the past, our family has just done the “go with the flow” thing. When DS was little, and had a wrap-around (TSS), he did have some things that were scheduled. He met three to four days with the TSS for 60 minutes/afternoon. He also attended our school’s ESY (Extended School Year) for five half-days per week for the month of July. He attended ESY to maintain his academics and social skills over the long break.
Last summer, though, I made the judgment call for DS not to attend ESY. I thought it would be great to have flexibility in our summer with no ESY obligations. I believed that he had made great strides and I wanted him to “graduate” from those services. I was right in one way. We did whatever we wanted: Slept in, went swimming, played on technology, played outside, played with a couple of friends, etc. The summer was very relaxing.
But I was so very wrong in another way. My poor DS, even after practicing the whole week before, could not get back into the school morning routine without suffering meltdown after meltdown. He flat-out refused to get ready or go cooperatively. He cried, kicked, screamed, hid under the dining room table, pushed away, wouldn’t eat, take his meds, get dressed, or brush his teeth. It was mentally and physically exhausting EVERY MORNING for the months of SEPTEMBER and OCTOBER. I’m not exaggerating or kidding. It was one of the top 5 worst phases we’ve been through with our kids. Potty training him at 4 ½ was a snap compared to those two months. Then, he woke up one day in early November and cooperated. It was a huge relief.
This summer, I’m not messing around. He is signed up for ESY, and it is four half-days per week for five weeks. I’m thrilled! Also, we applied for and received an Autism Grant from the state that will pay for a day camp in August to continue the morning routine. It will also give him more time to hang out with other kids his age in a social setting. The summer camp ends August 19th. The remaining week of summer is all on us here on the home front. We MUST stick to the school morning routine ALL SUMMER. To help with that, I’ve come up with some ways to follow a daily routine.
I like a good list. Do you? Here’s a few ways you can create a visual summer routine for your family.
Three Visual Summer Routines
1. Use a reminder APP on your technology with sounds as alerts.
We used this last November on an iPad for his school morning routine.
2. Use a paper list, put it in a cheap frame, and use a dry-erase marker to check off as you go. This one is from another blogger-mom, Jen, from I Heart Organizing.
Jen hung hers in a frame on the fridge.
3. Make magnetic tags that stick to the fridge to rearrange daily. I made these all by myself! I should do a Pinterest lesson, huh?
These are made from craft sticks with button magnets glue-gunned to the backs.
DS saw the sticks up last night and tried to dispose of the chores magnet! Nice try, buddy!
I’m hoping this system of daily routine keeps us as close to on track as possible. However, I’m not shooting for perfection. Average would be great.
Let me know what you think! Do you use a daily routine with your kids over the summer? How long do you practice school mornings before the first day? Should I add anything to my sticks? I’d love to hear from you!
By the way – if you hover or tap on any of the images in my post, you can pin them on Pinterest! Pretty neat!