March Break starts next week. A whole week with no school! All children look forward to this week. And all parents are left with the challenge of how to keep their kids occupied so we don’t hear the inevitable “Mom, I’m bored!”
If you’re lucky the weather agrees with you and you can make daily trips to the park to let off some steam. Some people bring their kids to the museum, science center, or the movies. Video games keep the older kids occupied on rainy days, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to reconnect over board games. Sounds easy enough.
What if you couldn’t make those trips to the park because your child is in a wheelchair and all the other kids make fun? Or your child acts inappropriately around other kids their age? Or something could happen to throw the child into a meltdown that other parents mistake as a tantrum? What if you couldn’t go to museums, science centers or the movies because there is too much stimulation that makes your child uncomfortable? What if your child won’t sit still long enough or just doesn’t know how to play video games or board games? How are you supposed to keep them occupied when you have all these limitations?
I don’t worry about B. His ADHD is so well controlled on medication that he can spend time watching tv, playing video games and loves board games. If it is nice out he will take his bike and ride to the park with his friends. Just like any other 13 year old boy.
Then there is K. I feel so lost when he has no school. I wish I could get him into March Break camps but he is not eligible because he needs 1:1 care. He only has 2 weeks of “prime time” respite so I have to choose between March Break and one week during the summer, or two weeks in the summer. I usually choose the 2 weeks in the summer. So I am left to keep him occupied for a week.
He will watch TV if Bugs Bunny is on, but even then he gets distracted after awhile. He will play with his toys, by himself. He loves his quiet time alone in his room. But I can’t have him do just that for a whole week! He needs some recreation. We wanted to bring him to the local pool but because he is incontinent he is not allowed in. So what can we do? Not much.
It’s not so bad in the summer. We have a big backyard and he loves to sit out in the sun. He also loves sitting in the hot tub. He will play catch with a ball. We go visit Grandpa who has a pool in his backyard. K loves to swim. But in March it is still a little chilly outside and Grandpa’s pool isn’t open yet. K doesn’t like going outside when it’s cold, so we usually have to stay inside. I will sit with him while he is playing with his bowling set and sometimes he will let me play with him. Other times he gets upset if I knock over the pins. I try doing the big wooden puzzles with him but he gets frustrated so fast that it never lasts long. The only way to get him to sit with me for any length of time is to let him clap my hand. He has been doing that as long as I can remember.
What do my readers do with their kids when there is no school? How do you stop from feeling guilty when it is so much easier just to let them do what they want? I’ll be the first to admit that when I am having a bad day I enjoy when he prefers his quiet time. But as a parent I feel I should do more to keep him occupied. But sometimes that is so much easier said than done.