Are you looking forward to the school holidays? / a blog about raising my autistic son

     
July 20, 2017.Are you looking forward lớn the school holidays?
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Are you a parent who longs for the summer school holidays to start so that you can spend some chất lượng time with your kids? Or do you have an impending sense of dread knowing that your usual routine is about to lớn be turned on its head?

I’m probably somewhere between the two.

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I loved summer holidays when I was a kid. It meant playing out in the street with my friends, eating ice pops, cooling off in paddling pools after long rounds of adrenaline filled ackee 123 và holidaying in self catering cottages, in the middle of nowhere.

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I have absolutely no idea if my mum enjoyed the school holidays or was simply surviving them.

As a working mum of four, including one with ASD (autistic spectrum disorder), the summer holidays have posed quite a challenge over the years.

Here’s my tips both for managing child care on working days và for surviving the days when you are with your children.

Tips for arranging childcare for school aged children in the holidays.

The summer holidays will happen whether you like it or not! Get planning.

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If you work part-time but on different days lớn a friend who also works part-time could you do some child care swaps? Obviously this works best if all the kids get on with each other! I’ve done this most years & have sầu ended up spending some days in a state of complete outnumbered chaos.

If you are fortunate enough lớn have grandparents around then farming your kids off to them for a few days can work well for everyone. We often sent our kids (only in ones or twos as four always seemed too many) lớn visit grandparents – it meant spending my free days driving up và down the country depositing & collecting various combinations of children but I kept my job!

If your employer can offer flexible working arrangements then ask them about it. I work as part of a team who are able to lớn cover my role in my absence, which enabled my manager to lớn permit me khổng lồ work annualised hours. This means I work slightly more hours than I’m contracted to lớn work during term time và take more time off in school holidays.

Lots of school aged children go to holiday clubs during the holidays when their parents work. This has not been a viable option for us partly due to lớn the cost of childcare for four children but also due khổng lồ the fact that Edward would have sầu struggled at a club where the days involved predominantly social group activities.

Tips for spending summer days with your kids

Get out of the house if you can!

Going anywhere crowded on my own with four children was never going khổng lồ work so our days out usually involved picnics, blankets, walking boots and a car ride lớn a quiet wide open space. These places of calm where there was no one around to lớn pull a judgy face if my children became fractious were where we had the best times. Our favourite places include: Bolton Abbey, Ilkley Moor, Otley Chevin, The Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Brimsay đắm Rocks (although a bit stressful if you don’t like the combination of children và heights!), Malđắm đuối Cove sầu & Goredale Soto.
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View of Cow và Calf – Ilkley

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Brimyêu thích Rocks

 If the thought of a full day out on your own with kids leaves you trembling a short trip out to the local park khổng lồ have a change of scene & allow the kids lớn let off some steam is worth a punt.
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 Think about how much screen time you want to allow. When Edward was at primary school I did limit screen time as he would simply have been on-screen all day every day except for when he went lớn the nhà wc. I used lớn allow two hours a day. As a teenager I have sầu to lớn admit this has slipped và he now spends A LOT more time on his computer. He will come on trips out with the rest of us but only if I explain exactly what we will be doing & when we will be returning. I then have sầu to lớn stiông xã lớn these plans precisely as deviations are bad for all of us.

 If you have sầu another adult around who can help keep an eye on a couple of your children this can reduce the sense of being hopelessly outnumbered & can make trips to museums or busier places possible. These were our favourite places to lớn visit when the kids were younger: Leeds City Museum, The Royal Armories, Abbey House Museum, Temple Newsam Farm và Tropical World. We also managed to lớn traumatise all our children with a visit to The Thackery Medical Museum a few years ago which has ever since been referred to as “The place of the Unmentionable”. (If you have sầu a child who likes gore và historical horror by all means take them along!)

 Form some holiday rituals that everyone looks forward to. We are a family of book lovers so In the first week of most holidays we have sầu a family trip lớn Waterstones. We end up spending about 90 minutes browsing và generally loping around until everyone has chosen their holiday read. This ritual only started when the twins turned 9 years old – before then I’d have sầu had some seriously grouchy kids on my hands if I’d tried to pull this one. Another ritual which we’ve sầu done for years is the annual day trip lớn Whitby which has lớn happen in the first week of the school summer holidays (ideally on the very first day) where we do exactly the same thing as we’ve sầu always done; Picnic on the beach, swyên in the sea, a browse in the well stocked Whitby booksiêu thị và lớn over the day an obligatory fish and chips supper on the sea front whilst dodging the increasingly menacing sea gulls. Perfect!

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Whitby Beach Huts

Don’t feel under pressure lớn schedule in non stop activities for your kids even if they tell you they’re bored. I’m a great believer in allowing kids lớn switch off from the bombardment of the outside world when the holidays come round. I don’t mind giving my kids the space và time to lớn daydream and pursue their own thoughts & occupations. I bởi slightly mind the fact that the bottom of my garden was transformed by the kids into lớn a mini shanty town last summer complete with fire pit & seating area (but not in an award-winning kind of way). I’m waiting lớn see if this ramshackle part of our garden will be “revitalised” this year!

I hope you manage to form some good memories with your kids this summer.

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Don’t forget that for every smiling pholớn on social truyền thông media of a “perfect” family having the “perfect” holiday there are plenty more undocumented and never to be shared “helliday” moments taking place up và down the country!

When you experience those “helliday” moments this summer just hold on to the fact that they will pass – September will come as surely as day follows night.


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