Tips to enjoy vacation with your Special Needs Child
Vacations are always extra special. It is a time when you can sleep in, eat a variety of foods, see new places, and visit people you haven’t met in a long time. However, it may get overwhelming if you have kids with special needs. A few small steps can help you plan in advance to make the vacation enjoyable for you and your child.
Structure and consistency are the key to make things easier for special needs children. This helps them manage life more easily. Special needs children often have a hard time recognizing patterns, making sense of elapsed time, or managing their own schedules. When structure is imposed in the form of alarm clocks, class buzzers, after school activities etc. it gets easier for them to function.
Apart from structure, consistency can make kids with special needs feel that they’re in control of their world. It helps reduce stress and anxiety, which are often the cause behind emotional outbursts and upsets.
Tips for a wonderful vacation with your Special Needs Child
Your special needs child can thrive when he gets structure and consistency. Here are some ways to make it easier while planning a vacation:
Keep it simple: When planning your vacation, consider staying in one place rather than moving around. Indulge in one activity per day so that you don’t wear yourself, and others, out.
Try not to get anxious: If you’re too worried and your thoughts are occupied with worry about your child acting out in public, you’re not going to enjoy your vacation. Make plans to handle these situations when you face them and not worry about it too much before you head out for vacation.
Find a comfortable place to head to: Going for a vacation in large groups can be overwhelming for everyone. One good option to face this situation is to find a place where your child is most comfortable. It will help you create a more familiar home-like structure for your child and keep him away from any unwarranted comments or concerns.
Plan activities that your child will enjoy: A lot of special needs children love tradition and repetition. Devote some time of your vacation to play the same game over and over again, or having the same foods at the same place, to make your child comfortable.
Have a Plan B ready: Your child with special needs may have a wonderful time doing a particular activity, or he may even throw a temper tantrum. In case that happens, have a Plan B ready so that other members of your group don’t feel that your day has ruined.
Prepare your vacation-mates: If you’re planning on going on vacation with someone who doesn’t know your child, let them know about what to expect and what they can do to make life easier for you and your child.
Be flexible: If your child with special needs gets upset being caught in the rain, consider putting off an outing until the rain is over. If he’s having a great day, think about extending it even if your schedule doesn’t allow you to.
Above everything else, prepare your child.This is one of the most important things to remember. Your child with special needs can relax more and enjoy the vacation if she is prepared about what to expect.