School holidays can be a chaotic and unstructured time for any child, but for children who are adopted this transition can bring some additional challenges. Below we are offering some tips to help you and your family cope with the change and to have as much fun as possible!

Acknowledge what your child is going through and talk to them about it. It’s okay to tell your child that you know that school holidays can be difficult for them and suggest making plans together to alleviate their anxiety. This is the opportunity for you to offer your child the reassurance that they need.

Plan the first week of the holidays. This can be the most difficult week as you all get used to the change in routine and the loss of structure. Make sure that you plan activities together and that where possible some routines stay the same such as meal times etc.

Make a visual timetable and countdown. Children respond really well to visual prompts, so it can really help them to picture how long they have left until the holidays and what they will be doing during this time. Maybe use a calendar to help your child cross off the days and let them draw pictures of activities they would like to do on certain days.

Remember that your child or children will need some relaxation time too. As parents we can see the holidays as the opportunity to cram in as many experiences as possible, but children do get tired and need some time to relax too. What will be most important to your child is spending time with you. Adopted children in particular may be tired from having to hold everything in at school this term, so plan some time in for you and your child at home, just relaxing and enjoying each other’s company.

mum drawing with boy and girl

If you aren’t going to be with your child for all of the holiday, then make sure you let them know you will still be thinking of them. Give them a transitional object (something of yours for them to look after) and maybe add a little note telling them that you love them and can’t wait to see them.

Remember your child’s needs, particularly if these needs are sensory. A lot of children will need to release their anxious energy so make sure you include some activity in your days such as going to the park, having a race or climbing trees. Some children can become ‘sensory defensive’ in places where there are lots of people, noise or lights, so it’s really important for you take this into account. Think about how your child manages busy, noisy places where they might have to be for a long period of time and use this when planning your activities.

Get creative and make a scrapbook with your child during the holidays, use photographs, tickets, postcards and get your child to write about their day and the fun that you have had together. Not only will this be a nice memory for you all, it will also help when your child is transitioning into school holidays next time.


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