No school….What to do? A few simple ways to beat boredom and prevent behavior problems.

Now that the excitement of the holidays has subsided, it is now December 26th and you, or rather, the kids have at least one week of NO SCHOOL! The thought of entertaining the kids throughout an entire day can be daunting. The best way to combat this stress is to arm yourself with a bag full of activities. This may mean you need to fight the crowds and head to your local craft store, or limit play with the new toys that Santa has delivered so they can be incorporated as a new activity during the week. As you would plan out your meals if you were on a diet, you can plan your activities for the days ahead and be prepared.

Here are a few simple suggestions that can help you beat “no school boredom” and prevent behavior problems.

  1. Use a schedule board to show your child a list of activities for the day ahead. If your child does not read, use pictures of each activity to indicate what is next. Your child probably has a visual schedule board at school, and one for her home program. Therefore, creating a schedule board for the day at home can provide familiar prompts and a sense of structure for the day. For neuro-typical kids, this can help reduce the incessant asking, “what are we going to do?  I’m bored.”
  2. Plan activities. Incorporate activities that require both interactive and independent work. Be sure to alternate or evenly space out the time for an interactive activity and an independent activity. Independent activities can be taken from mastered programs in your home program. This includes, for example, puzzles or games that your child was taught to do on her own.
  3. Go outside as an activity. Take advantage of the beautiful California weather. Schedule your activities so that you are outside in the afternoon, go to the park, or play in the backyard. Kids typically run around quite a bit at school and they need the same amount of exercise (if not more) when they are not in school.
  4. Try a community outing. For you locals, Disneyland, Knot’s Berry Farms, and the Long Beach Aquarium are all community outings that can entertain. On a budget? As we know, all of those amusement parks could get pricey. Instead of the aquarium, consider your local fish store. The kids will be able to look at the fish for free and will likely still get the same excitement.
  5. Schedule a play date. It’s always nice to get the kids together, but it’s also nice to be able to commiserate with a fellow caregiver!

We hope these suggestions are helpful for you. It is also important to remember that it is vacation, so a day of non-structure and snuggling in front of the television with your little ones is more than okay.

Disclaimer: The recommendations provided are general. For specific recommendations for you and/or your child please consult with a behavior analyst.