We don’t do the summer holidays like other families. We have a summer holiday routine to keep us all sane and functioning. I have shared in previous posts about my struggles with the summer holiday. 6 weeks for us, as a family with a child who thrives on routine is a long time to break, and it puts a lot of strain on me.
So we do summer differently. We don’t break for 6 weeks and we still keep a lot of structure and routine.
Children with sensory processing disorder thrive with routine and a schedule and his behavior deteriorate if we don’t have that, so we do what works for us, and we ignore the “relax and chill and do nothing, it’s the summer” advice that comes our way.
We have little in the way of support, with family abroad so we don’t have grandparents who can take the kids to give us a break, and I don’t do childcare swaps, because I don’t really want to look after other people’s children, so we make things work for us.
So how do we make it work?
We don’t do late nights or late mornings. So no lie in’s in our pj’s around here. We stick to getting up, getting dressed, and eating breakfast almost normally. Sometimes we have a slightly later starts but we don’t laze away the mornings. Late bedtimes don’t work so we skip them except for rare treat stay up and watch movie nights.
We don’t stop “learning” just because the schools have broken up. The beauty of homeschool is that there is no term, no end of term, and no one looking over our shoulder telling us when and what to do. We carry on with our homeschool until the end of July, to finish everything.
In August we stop planned curriculum work, but we do reading, some maths apps, and some literacy apps every day. If we want to work on a project or something interesting we do, but I don’t plan for it, it’s more spontaneous.
We plan a day out every week. This could be somewhere local, or somewhere slightly further afield, and could be for fun, or for learning or both. Museums, palaces, botanical gardens, they are all fun places we can enjoy.
We plan a playdate every week. This helps with the company and also keeps the boy entertained and it’s something he has to look forward to. We might go out, or stay home.
Childcare. One day a week we use childcare. This gives me a break, and he goes to someone who keeps him very busy all day, with activities and other children, so it benefits us both.
One day a week we do house stuff and the kids are both expected to help. Cleaning, tidying, and sorting. Learning life skills.
The husband, this year, is taking a day off a week, to be in charge of the kids. We may go somewhere or we may stay at home. He gets to run the show, and I come along for the ride.
We plan our days, so we have something to do, and things to look forward to.
We also carry on certain activities, like swimming lessons, gymnastics, and violin lessons. This keeps the kids from losing their skills and also keeps structure and they enjoy it.
We bake, we do crafts, we watch movies, we go for walks, we garden. We also have a time where the kids entertain themselves.
It might sound busy, and not very summer holiday like but it works for us, and it keeps us feeling normal and happy. 6 weeks is a long time and budgets and sanity need to be looked after.
Maybe one day we will be less strict about routine and can be more relaxed but for now, we do, as we have always done, what works for us… Our summer holiday routine might horrify those who relish taking a gentler path, but this mum has to manage.