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Keeping Your Child Healthy and Engaged Over the Summer

Children running outside

A little leisure is much needed when school lets out; however, children with special needs thrive with a little structure. It’s beneficial to maintain a routine during the summer as a way to keep your child learning and developing healthy habits.

Here are a few ideas to help your child with special needs have a healthy and happy summer:

  • Seek out a summer program. Check your installation, local schools, recreation centers and other community-based organizations for programs on topics that might interest your child.
  • Consider child care services. Plan activities or outings for your child when you are tied up with work or other activities. The Department of Defense offers military parents the option to find expanded hourly child care services through free access to a national database of caregivers.
  • Crack open a book. Whether reading with your younger children or encouraging your older children to read on their own, summer reading can help keep brains engaged and study habits fresh .
  • Take a field trip. Visit parks, museums, zoos or nature centers for low-cost educational opportunities for your entire family.
  • Count, track and measure. Find fun ways to incorporate numbers into everyday tasks. Measure items around the house or track daily temperatures. Go to the grocery store and practice adding, subtracting or multiplying the prices of items.
  • Think ahead. Check with your child’s school to see if there are summer packets of math and reading skills activities to help prepare for the next school year.
  • Get moving. Don’t forget to schedule time for your child to play and burn off energy with some sunshine and exercise.
  • Snack HealthyA healthy diet is just as important in the summer as it is during the school year. Keep plenty of fruits and vegetables on hand to encourage good snack habits.
  • Recharge. Keep a regular summer bedtime to make sure your child is getting enough sleep.

Helping your children stay engaged academically and physically throughout the summer helps set them up for success in the new school year. Contact your local Exceptional Family Member Program Family Support provider and look for a Parent Training and Information Center near you to see what types of summer programs are available to your family.

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