From the perspective of S. Denise Kullman, Mom and Respite Relief Care for the Institute of Attachment and Child Development
Dyan’s right — summer with kids who have attachment disorder/reactive attachment disorder melts most parents. In her recent post, she gave tips on how to get through the upcoming months.
Here are some additional tips that help me survive summer break with my son who has attachment disorder (aka RAD or AD):
-Keep a consistent routine. Tyler feels more secure when I keep things on schedule. Without routine, he feels the chaos and gets anxious and agitated. We keep bedtime, mealtime, and chores the same throughout the week. We also stick to certain days for special things like yard work, library visits, and pizza nights.
-Include outdoor activities in your routine. Get your child to release energy whenever possible. Our kids take walks, bike, play ball, skateboard, walk our dogs and roller blade. I’m hoping to get a trampoline soon. I’ve read that the bouncing helps to calm anxiety. I’ll try it!
-Prepare for melt downs. No matter what you do to prepare, your child will inevitably have bad moments and days. I keep Tyler’s journal, drawing materials, and a solitare game handy for those moments to help him calm down.
-Get your family involved with the community. Our family has signed up to maintain a community garden and help our church during vacation bible school and summer camp. This helps all of us to build skills, feel pride in our work, and give back to others. And it keeps Tyler busy and out of trouble to boot.
-Have fun as a family. It’s always important to nurture family relationships. We like to go to movies in the park and local farmer’s markets together.
Whatever you have planned for summer break, remember the importance of family above all. And don’t forget the sunscreen!