Maintain routine/consistency as much as possible during spring break – easier said than done, but if possible when traveling try to keep some aspects of the normal routine present, for example – having the same nighttime routine, going to bed and waking up at the same time, eating meals at consistent times, etc.
Give your child options as much as possible – for example “do you want to watch this movie or that movie?”, “do you want pasta or pizza for dinner?”, “do you want 1 bedtime story or 2” etc. Doing this will provide your child with some control of their environment helping to decrease some of their anxiety/frustration due to the change in routine.
As much as possible, provide your child with lots of movement and play breaks throughout the day to provide them with a positive sensory outlet for any extra energy they may have after sitting for a long time in a car or airplane.
Provide your child with opportunities for calming activities during the day (playing calming music, dimming the lights, wrapping up in a blanket, reading a story, etc.) to help your child calm before and after stressful events.
While it may be hard to incorporate all of these strategies, incorporating some of them will hopefully result in a less stressful and more relaxing spring break for you and your family. Enjoy!
Michael Jankowski, MS, OTR/L