Ethan doesn’t respond well to school holidays. He is happy when he knows his routine and school is the routine that Ethan knows. Last year our plan for the summer holidays was to keep Ethan busy and we planned days out and a mini break away but it was too much. Not being able to keep up with Ethan’s energy levels we were exhausted mentally and physically by the end of it. I felt like a failure.
This year we had access to respite days at Ethan’s after-school club and at the school itself. We signed him up for them knowing that we would need time to recharge. Darren also booked the first and the last week of the summer holidays off of work to be there as a support. We did arrange a few days out but decided to keep these to the end of the holidays, we didn’t want to put too much pressure on ourselves.
Ethan started to get unsettled a few weeks before the holidays started. He has a fascination with doors, needing to open and close them. This means he doesn’t sit down and moves around all the time. Along with this his sleep patterns got worse as soon as the holidays started. This meant even less sleep than normal. I think we were lucky to get a couple of hours a night of undisturbed sleep. Ethan also stopped eating, he would eat his breakfast and if it was a good day a little lunch but dinner was a no go. This always worries me as Ethan will very quickly lose weight.
We had a few meltdowns to deal with in those first weeks of the holidays. Ethan enjoyed his respite days but they were different from what he was used to and he found the unexpected hard. We did worry if sending him to respite was the right thing to do but he kept saying it was ‘fun‘.
Around the respite days we fitted in lots of garden time, trips to the park, trips to toy shops and many visits to the sea. Ethan even got to go for sleepover’s at nanny’s as she helped us try to catch up on some much needed sleep by having some sleepless nights herself. We even had the chance to visit Chessington World of Adventures when we went to visit my brother and his family.
With the return to school and a calm descending again we can look back at the six weeks summer holidays and feel like we started to get the mix right. So on-wards and upwards, fingers crossed that next years summer holidays go even better.