I thought I’d share with you some tips for the summer. But of course, this is an interesting summer! We have a “new normal” now and we have to take that into account. Here are my best tips for this strange summer:
1. Stay on a schedule.
Parents, you have to keep your kids on a schedule! I’m sure you had to do this while they were having school virtually. Now that it’s summer, going off-schedule only means that it will be harder to get them back on schedule when the time comes. Does that mean you need to have every hour of the day scheduled? No! Each family is going to handle their schedules differently, and you have to do what works best for you. But do have a set wake up time and bedtime. Weekends are weekends, and you can be a bit lax on them just like you would during school time. But during the week have set times to get up, to go to bed, and certain activities that are expected to be done during the day.
2. Keep your kids involved.
Maybe this could be helping you with chores. Remember, your therapist here can modify the most basic chore for the most involved child! Don’t ever think your kids can’t participate and help! You could have them putting silverware on the table, or taking a bag out to the trash, or bringing groceries in. Keep your kids involved. It gives them a sense of purpose, and they should be contributing to the family.
3. Get outside
We know that sometimes outdoor activities can be challenging in the heat. Some of the parks have opened back up, so go early before it gets too hot! Parks are great activities, and we have some great parks in our cities! Make sure you’re getting some of that heavy work done that our kids need to do!
Other activities that have really blossomed lately are skating and biking. For a lot of our kiddos who are more physically involved, many of our parents are attaching something to the back of their bikes so that they can carry them through the experience.
Lately, I’m also seeing so many more people walking through their communities. Again, keep these outdoor activities to the morning or after dinner, as it’s getting to be too hot to be out during the day.
4. Stay off the screens
Since our kids have been having so much screen time lately, try to reduce the amount of screen time that they’re doing. Try to think of alternative things to get them away from the screen. You might have an afternoon family movie time where you’re going to watch a favorite movie or show. Or, board games are a great option! We love, love, love board games! We also love, love, love puzzles! Do something as a family! A family can do a puzzle together, and it could be that your kiddo is working on a simpler one while you’re working on a more difficult one.
5. Work on skills.
This is also a great time to work on skills that your kiddo was struggling within the school. But if you want to work on fine motor skills, for instance, make it fun! Do crafts! Don’t make it worksheets—they’re not going to like worksheets! Do some origami, or find some craft videos where you and your kiddo watch the video together and then try to recreate what you see. Talk to your therapist for ideas on how you can provide some of this support. And keep watching our website and social media because we are going to be doing blogs and videos about activities that can be done at home that are therapeutic.
Those are our tips for managing the summer, even if this summer is a little different.
I also wanted to remind you that if you’re doing telehealth, we do not know how much longer that will last. Since Texas has opened back up some of your policies are already not covering it. Some of them are stopping at the end of the month. There are a few that do go through the end of the year because they’re not Texas-based policies. But they do vary widely, so please check in with your insurance company to find out what they are going to do. If your plan is a self-funded plan then you need to talk to your employer, because those decisions are made by your employer.
Most of our clients have already come back to the clinic, and we have established some strict policies on how to manage and clean our spaces. We have an hour-by-hour sheet going. We are taking temperatures and using masks and gloves—we are doing everything we can do. We know many families are still very worried, but you’re going to have to come out of your house at some point and we want to support you in that as best we can. We have clients who have a protocol when they get home of stripping their clothes off, putting them in the washing machine immediately, and putting the kiddo in a bath or shower. That way they’re clean and safe. We can help you be as safe as possible, so please reach out to us! We’d love to see you. We miss you all!
One more note: Our new Behavior Center is going to be finished in August! We already have a waiting list, so if you’re interested please talk to the front desk.