Schedule holidays for children with autism

schedule holidays

Are holidays a time of peace, relaxation and Instagramable moments? I can hear you laughing. Our summer holidays started with sibling fights and it feels like it hasn’t stopped. Especially in the heat of summer when heatwaves hit and it’s too hot to go anywhere, home can feel like a prison where everyone drives each other crazy and there’s not enough space.

A lack of schedule in holidays has been shown to be unhealthy for kids. The report found that kids exercise less and eat more unhealthy food during the school holidays. Yet, Australia’s summer holidays are quite short compared to the other places in the world. So do you need to schedule your holidays for children with autism?

We can only survive weekends and holidays with a schedule. Each day gets planned out in the morning. Special events are noted, and the weather (not that it changes what they wear anyway). We document all the activities that we need to complete that day, and each person gets to nominate something they want to do with their time. So that’s how we schedule holidays for our children with autism.

Our schedule helps

  • because our kids need schedules and controllable routines
  • our kids to stay active and keep their regular sleep and eating patterns
  • stop boredom and it’s related meltdowns and opportunities for sibling fights
  • because it allows practice of group planning, goal setting and time management
  • support transitions between activities
endless unscheduled beach holidays
endless unscheduled beach holidays

What’s on the schedule?

Our kids love the routine of the schedule and often ask “what’s next on the schedule?”, or if they discover something they want to do, they add it to the schedule. It also helps with transitions between activities, and limits the amount of screen time. Our kids feel like they have some say and control over their days and it keeps them happy.

Keeping active in the holidays

To keep up physical activity, we often say they need one hour of active minutes or 10,000 steps of activity outside before they can access screen time.

Healthy eating in the holidays

Our daughter won’t eat dinner unless she’s been consulted in advance about what we’re eating. She then needs to agree to the dinner plans, or she’ll refuse to eat later on. The schedule helps to set out what meals are coming so she will come to the table and eat with us.

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