FamilyConnect and WonderBaby.org are co-hosting a Summer Blog Party! We’re asking bloggers to join in by writing about their summer plans on their blogs and sending us the links so we can link them up below. We’ll link up all the posts and share with families so we can collect the best summer advice from around the world!
Ready to write? Here’s your topic: Are you planning any new activities or experiences for your blind child this summer? How are you preparing? Any advice for other parents?
As the school year winds down I hear the same question again and again, “Any plans for the summer?”
And my answer is usually, “We’ll muddle through somehow!”
And while that’s true, we don’t really have any plans for the summer, we do have a strategy. We won’t be going on vacation or having a big party. We’re not planning any big trips and we do our best to keep our schedule pretty predictable, but that doesn’t mean that we won’t have fun!
Our summer strategy has three main components:
- Do something fun, different or interesting EVERY day
- Keep busy
- Follow a routine
Ivan’s summer break is usually five or six weeks long, so that’s a lot of days to fill up! I start our summer planning by looking through local activity guides to find as many outdoor concerts, library story times, summer parades or neighborhood fairs as possible. These big events are loud, exuberant, exciting… and free! If I can find two or three for each school vacation week, we’re on a roll.
I also make a list of child-friendly venues that Ivan might like to visit, such as children’s or science museums, zoos, etc. I look for free or discounted days and mark them on the calendar.
Then I have my old standbys of the waterpark, playground and pool to fill in the remaining days PLUS a collection of activities that we can play indoors when it’s raining. Throw in a back yard Slip ‘n Slide and we’re all set!
Even with Ivan out of school, we still follow a basic daily schedule. We wake up at the same time, have breakfast, and head out to the playground or to an event as soon as we’re ready. Deviating from a normal schedule can be really disorienting for a lot of kids, especially kids with special needs or visual impairments, so we do our best to at least create the semblance of normalcy. Yes, we’re out of school and that is weird, but we can still expect some things to happen at the same time every day! Using a tactile or symbol schedule can also help your child understand what’s happening and what to expect next.
We also do our best to be out of the house during the usual “school hours” as much as possible. Ivan gets so restless if he has to spend the entire day indoors, so from 830am to 3pm we try to be out and about. This does take a lot of planning though! I’ve learned the hard way that it’s better to be prepared and not need something than the other way around.
Some basic things to keep in mind:
- Pack Your Bags! We have a large diaper bag that is always packed with the basics: pullups, extra clothes, medications, toys, etc. We’re always ready to go!
- Bring Snacks. You never know if the event you are heading out to will have food. And if they do, will it be the sort of food your child will eat? This is especially true for kids with any dietary restrictions. And since it might be hot out, it’s not a bad idea to have a small cooler with you as well!
- Potty Training? Bring a Potty Seat! Ivan is doing so well with his potty training and I don’t want that to slip during the summer months. We bring along a portable potty seat and keep it in a lovely embroidered bag (no one will suspect that there is really a potty in there!) and take it everywhere. Are public restrooms an icky place to take a blind child who likes to touch everything? You bet! But he has to learn somehow!
- Try New Things. You won’t know if your child will enjoy something until you try. And if he hated it last year, maybe this year will be different! Ivan used to hate story time at the library, but now he loves it! And you can always leave if it’s not working out. You won’t lose any points for trying!
We do our best to keep busy and usually I’m surprised by how quickly the summer goes by.
Do you have any summer plans or advice to share? Let us know! FamilyConnect and WonderBaby.org are inviting bloggers to write about their summer plans. Just send us a link to your post and will add it below!
Here are more summer tips from other parents:
Hot Fun in the Summertime for Kids who are Blind or Visually Impaired
We are kicking off the summer season with a roundup of items to help you make the most of activities, events, and just plain old ideas that can be fun. Bloggers, please join in by writing about your summer plans and sending us the links. We will share all the posts and links with families. [READ MORE]
Summer is Here… Now What?
Like with every summer, we always find ourselves wondering…”Now What?” Eddie LOVES routine and seeks it out in every aspect of his day. If we say “time for lunch” …he answers with, “And Then?” Or, “After that?” He simply wants to know what his day looks like, and the concept of “free-time” isn’t something he handles well. [READ MORE]
36 Fun Summer Activities for Kids Who are Blind or Multiply Disabled
During long breaks from school we’re always looking for something fun (and preferably educational) for Ivan to do. I like to search through Pinterest and parenting blogs looking for fun summer-time activities, but it can be very difficult to find projects or outings that are appropriate for a young child who is blind and has multiple disabilities. [READ MORE]
Road Trip! 20 Ways to Keep Your Blind Child Entertained on a Long Car Drive
How’s your child in the car? Some kids hate traveling and some have mixed feelings (I know one little girl who’s fine as long as the car is moving, but freaks out when it stops… her mom HATES stop lights!). Here’s some great advice on how to keep a child who is blind entertained on a long trip. [READ MORE]
Surf Camp for Blind Kids
Indo Jax Surf School’s Visually Impaired Summer Camp takes place at Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina for a week each July.The camp gets bigger every year and includes sighted siblings as well. [READ MORE]
Kurios, Lego-Splosion and Other Summer Happenings
We’ve been in the throes of summer here lately – the temperatures heated up, and we’ve been enjoying the long days and warm weather. Days and weekends are full of swim practice and swim meets, birthday parties, playtime with friends, and keeping cool in the basement. [READ MORE]
Traveling With a Child Who Is Visually Impaired: It’s All About the Journey
Susan, an avid RV-er, writes about how to prepare so you can enjoy your summer travels. Make lists and prepare ahead of time. Doing a little at a time is easier than doing it all at the last minute. [READ MORE]
The Emerging Risk-Taker
Emily writes, “As much as we wanted to step in and “teach” him about the ocean…we let him teach himself. He quickly learned the pattern of the waves, where to find dry sand, and where to find the ocean spray. He walked back and forth, and up and down the beach…100% independent.” [READ MORE]
Ideas to Engage Students with Significant Multiple Disabilities in Activities During the Summer Holidays
You can create rotating sensory trays using a divided chip and dip platter. It’s easy to develop a theme with your rotating sensory tray. In this tray we can experience typical summer/beach materials! [READ MORE]
The Day I Signed Up My Daughter for Baseball
Can a totally blind child play baseball? Yes! Madilyn’s mom says, “Have you considered enrolling your child with visual impairments in a sports program, whether inclusive or distinguished specifically as special needs? We did and I’m so happy with our decision!” [READ MORE]
What is Typical Summer when you’re an Atypical Family?
What does summer look like for a special needs family? It may be a lot of work, but there are also a lot of smiles! Catherine says, “For every picture you see of us smiling on vacation, there is probably an hour of work – but when you get to hear Alexis’ giggle and Jessica’s squeal of excitement – I know it’s all very worth it.” [READ MORE]