Thursday, July 12, 2012

Summertime... vacation, no.

So I would like to say that yes it is summertime, the time to sip cocktails by the pool while the children splash around and I get to work on my tan. That sentence in itself is laughable.

No, my summertime is comprised of a shared custody schedule, car shopping, house hunting and home packing. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining. I love having my children with me for the summer and the days that they are with me I try to fill with fun if at all possible in the midst of house hunting and packing. We manage to keep ridiculously busy between the library, nearby water park, neighborhood pool, friends, bbq's and so much more.

The most important thing for us to remember in the hustle and bustle of all the summertime changes going on in our home is to be very open and clear with the kids about what the schedule is going to look like and what we will be doing. Kiddo, like most Aspie's can be very rigid about trips out or movements in his schedule. Each and every time we go the grocery or any other store, kiddo asks me exactly how many things we need to buy. Throughout the trip he closely watches the number of items growing in the cart. Should I wonder a bit and remember those few things I didn't write down, once we reach the designated number of items, kiddo starts to get frigidity. So if I have a major change of schedule or plans, I sure surely expect what I have coming to me... a meltdown.

So, to try to alleviate some of the stresses that we face with schedule and changes, in our home we use a pretty comprehensive schedule which we place openly for the kids to be able to see and reference when they need to. Along with the monthly calendar is a weekly calendar of home tasks, chores and daily schedule. Next to the weekly schedule is the kids reward system. Each item on the reward sheet is redeemable to a number of plastic gold coins. The items change each month but are usually not toys or "things." The rewards range from a "Movie Night as A Family," which they can pool coins together for to "20 minutes Wii or Playstation Time." Lil sis always has "Sushi Date with Mom" on hers because she invites any chance to eat sushi. Kiddo's favorite chart item is "30 mins Computer Time" which he usually uses to look up animals that he is currently interested in.

It isn't a perfect system, but it seems to work really well for us when things can be challenging with constant change. Hopefully we can stick to our schedule and reward system through all our hectic moves this summer and manage to actually enjoy the hot and sticky days too.