Wow, is it already February? This year is off to a fast start. And now that Punxsutawney Phil has told us that spring is coming soon, it is a good time to start thinking about…
Planning for summer now may not be high on your priority list. You may be neck-deep in addressing school challenges, preparing for IEP season and running around like a crazy person taking your kiddos to afterschool activities and appointments. For many parents, it can be challenging to find summer activities that their 2e kids enjoy so it can be really helpful to plan early.
2e kids may have limited interests and difficulty with routine changes and new situations or may feel uncomfortable or unwelcome in certain environments. When families sign up children in programs that don’t meet their needs, everybody suffers – the child may not like the program and may resist going, or even worse, be asked to leave. I have learned from experience that if your gut is telling you a particular camp or program is not be right, it is good to pay attention to that feeling. No parent wants to take a leave of absence from work to be home with an unhappy kiddo over the summer.
Since finding good options for our kids can be tricky, thinking about and researching options now can reduce the stress that last-minute planning causes. And the earlier you look, the more options you will have. Here are some things to think about before you begin your search.
- Are you looking for different activities throughout the week or are you looking to enroll your child in a camp?
- Is your child ready for sleep-away-camp or would they prefer day camp?
- Are you considering a family vacation that would interfere with an extended summer camp program?
- Will either you or your co-parent be on vacation for an extended period of time or will both of you be working full-time over the summer?
- Is your child ready to have a job or be a CIT?
- Make an honest assessment of your child. Considering these questions can help you decided whether to add or subtract various options from your list.
- What are your child’s interests and strengths?
- What types of typical summer activities do they enjoy?
- Do they like sports? Swimming?
- How well do they tolerate being outside in hot weather? Do they need indoor time/options?
- Are they flexible, go-with-flow types or do they need a specific structure with a predictable schedule?
- Are they comfortable socializing with any kids or would they do better socializing with a particular population/interest group?
- Would they be okay being supervised by a high school or college student or do they need supervision from someone more experienced?
- Can they handle several different types of camps over the course of the summer or would they do better with one program/a more predictable and consistent schedule?
- Would your child enjoy an academic/educationally-oriented program or do they need a break from the classroom?
- Would your child be better off with a sitter/minder/mentor who can give them 1:1 attention? If so, what qualities would you look for in an ideal candidate?
- Will your child be able to cope with a long commute or a lot of traveling during the day? Is a local program easier for them?
- What qualities are important in a program?
- Do the program managers need to be familiar with twice exceptionality or have worked with 2e kids before?
- What strategies should they have for working with 2e kids? Particularly when a kiddo is anxious, hyper-sensitive, explosive or aggressive?
- Does the program need to offer a particular sport or activity that your child likes?
- Is the program flexible, offering your child activity choices, or does your child have to do whatever the group is doing?
- Does it matter if the program is located close to your home/work?
- Do the camps you are looking at offer an extended day program (until your workday ends + commute time) or do they end by 3 or 4 pm? If yes, who staffs the extended day program and what activities are offered? If no, who will pick up your child?
- What can you afford? Does the program offer financial assistance?
Most people view summer as a time for relaxation and fun. Hopefully, with a little advanced planning, that will be the case for you and your kiddo.