Military Special Needs Network

Proudly Supporting all Military Families with a Special Needs Dependent

The Best Summer Ever?

ID-100154904While the teachers and students are celebrating the end of the school year, I’m terrified.  What am I going to do with the girls all summer long?  How will I keep them entertained?  How do I keep my sanity intact?  Oh man, I need to go grocery shopping to get snacks and lunches and….is it bedtime yet?  All of a sudden, it’s ME that has transition issues and I’m not ready for summer!

Yes, it will be nice to get a break from the routine of homework, spelling practice, math questions (that I swear I never learned), and last-minute projects. Stress will be diminished with weekly pajama parties and sleeping in a bit more.  But we aren’t like your typical family.  We don’t get to pick up and go places on a whim.  My youngest daughter relies on her schedules and routines, and private therapies will continue.  And because I waited until the last minute, camps are already full and waitlists are lengthy for my oldest NT daughter.  (Procrastinators unite!).  Our plate is full and summer is starting to seem boring, monotonous, and blech.

But I’ve decided that we’re going to have some fun this summer, somehow.  I’m going to put on my mommy-organizing-planning pants on and come up with a plan.  I call it my Summer Strategy.

  • Reward charts.  Nope, they’re not just for little kids anymore!  In order to prevent my oldest from getting too lazy, and to keep her area from looking like a tornado zone, she’s gotta work for the goods.  Every chore equals a star.  Ten stars gets an activity.  BAM!
  • Break up the monotony.  Just because we have therapy 8 times a week doesn’t mean we can’t get creative!  Instead of having therapy indoors, we’re going out.  OT and PT in the park!
  • Once a week, we are going to go “do” something.  Outside of our home and outside of therapy, we’re going to explore.  I have made a list of free to low-cost places that we’re going to go check out.  There’s a bird sanctuary, free museums, train rides to the ocean, swimming pools, beaches, and lots of other things for us to see and do.  With some careful planning and an ABA therapist, this will be an awesome time to sneak some fun into therapy.
  • Family time.  Actual in-the-moment family time.  We’re going to pitch the tent in the backyard and go stay-camping.  And, my oldest plays a mean game of Uno, and I plan on taking her down or taking her to Vegas.
  • And most of all, I’m giving myself a break.  This list seems pretty achievable, but chances are, it’s going to fall apart at some point.  And that’s OK.  I’m not going to feel guilty if I let the girls watch extra TV so I can get a moment of peace.  I know that we probably won’t be able to go on an adventure every week, but I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t win the June Cleaver award.

This summer, my girls deserve to make memories that will last a lifetime.  We do have a lot on our plates with a heavy therapy schedule, but we’re going to do our best to make it the best summer ever.

739856_10200293480281601_234646061_oWendy McCoy Kruse is the CEO of Military Special Needs Network. She lives in sunny San Diego, CA with her Sailor and is a full-time mother of two: her neurotypical, 9-year old daughter Emily; and her one-of-a-kind 6-year old daughter Addie, who has quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy, deafness, blindness, non-verbal Autism, scoliosis, and a long list of other labels. They have a goldfish and a very naughty puppy who loves to eat everything.  You can email her at:  wen.kruse@militaryspecialneedsnetwork.com.

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