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The summer holiday nerves

The school holidays are just around the corner and for those of you in Scotland have already begun. The challenges facing autistic children with getting to school are well documented, but the school holidays can be just as challenging and daunting for parents and children alike. 


During term time there are a team of people who support your child. At the end of the day though, they go home and that isn’t the case for parents. It can be easy to have imposter syndrome when thinking that others can support your child with apparent ease. It can also be hard if you are having to juggle working with having your child(ren) at home, and if you have multiple children with different requirements. This makes the school holidays seem really daunting and something many parent carers are anxious about all year round.


Whatever your situation there are a few solutions. 


• Make a plan - this doesn’t have to be a detailed second by second military manoeuvre, but having a brief overview of what the time will look like can help. 


• Plan some activities - in any situation there are always things to do. This doesn’t mean that they have to cost money or be extravagant. Sometimes it is the small gestures that create the best memories. One of my happiest memories of school holidays was making ice cubes with strawberry slices in them with my grandma. I loved looking at the finished product and marvelled at how the strawberry liberated itself from its frozen prison when it was melting.


• Go to the library - yes libraries are a source of information of what is available locally to you. Often charities and community groups will leave leaflets there which means they are all in one place. 


• Ask for help - It can be isolating being a parent/carer, especially during the holidays. Mention this to friends and families or even to online parent groups. You will soon realise that you are not on your own and sometimes just a quick rant to a friend can help. 


• Make memories - This might sound cliche but make memories and record those memories. They can also be a good reminder for future school holidays that you did survive!


• Treat yourself - again this doesn’t have to be extravagant, it might be allowing yourself 5 minutes for a coffee, or a quick escape with a good book. 


• Don’t over commit - fear of having nothing to do can result in booking something every day. Think of your child(ren)’s energy levels and their need to regulate. Think what might work in terms of the number of events in a week. 


• Don’t change your structure - having a similar routine for holidays as you have during term time can help your child to adjust into and out of holiday mode.


• Housework - This can seem impossible to get on top of. Get your children involved - my son loves pressing buttons and enjoys helping to load and unload the washing machine for the reward of pressing the start button. Small things like this can boost self esteem but also mean that they want to do more. 


• Mistakes happen - Things will go wrong. We all have those bad days when nothing goes right. Remember this happens to EVERYONE! 



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