Preparing for A Day at the Beach
Trips to the beach have long been a favorite family activity. As fun and relaxing as it can be, the beach can also be a lot to handle for a child with sensory sensitivities. To prepare for this potential sensory overload, it’s best to get your child acclimated weeks in advance of your trip.
- Sand: Some beaches can get quite loud. Avoiding notoriously crowded beaches can help cut down noise from other beachgoers, but the roar of the waves may still present a large challenge. Some of the best resources for introducing your child to these new noises can be found on the internet. Websites like calm.com offer audio recordings to help familiarize your child with what they’ll hear when they visit the beach, including seagulls.
- Sound: There are many activities that can be done with a therapy or yoga ball to improve stability and fine motor control.
- Wildlife: Different beaches have different forms of wildlife Many, such as horseshoe crabs or sea turtles, mostly keep to themselves. Teaching your child about these animals would be helpful so they can identify any they may see, but the animals that are more of a concern are the ones that pester you—seagulls to be exact. Teaching your child about seagulls in advance of your beach trip will help so they are not surprised by them when you get there. Make a little game out of ignoring the seagulls. Using stuffed animals or other toys, you demonstrate what would happen if your child were to feed or chase seagulls.
- Protective Gear: Bathing suits can feel peculiar as they are frequently made out of different materials than everyday clothes, not to mention how uncomfortable they can be when wet. Feeling comfortable in a bathing suit will be vital to having a successful beach day, so start getting your child used to the sensation ahead of time. Get your child into a pool or running in a sprinkler while wearing their swimsuit. Sunscreen is another beach necessity which your child may resist, particularly if they have not used it recently. There are plenty of new options for sunscreens on the market, such as sprays and roll-on sticks. Try out these options and see which your child is most able to tolerate.
Planning and preparing are important, but remember: the most important thing is to have fun and make great family memories!
Summer Reading List
Reading with your child is not only beneficial to enhancing your bond with them, but also is vital to their learning and development. At the end of each school year, The Association for Library Service to Children releases summer reading lists for both Pre-Kindergarten and older children. Lists for younger children can be found here, and older children can be found here. These lists are put together using recommendations of kids and parents nationwide and feature brand new books that have been made with today’s children in mind. So go on ahead and crack one open!
Here are our top 3 recommendations:
- Beach House by Deanna Caswell: Follow a family as they have a fun day at the beach, splashing in the waves, playing in the sand, having a cookout, and much more.
- Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson: A young girl living in the city shares wildflowers she finds while walking, which transforms the lives of all she meets.
- Tree: A Peek-Through Picture Book by Britta Teckentrup: Learn about colors and seasons, and meet the animals who make a tree in their home.
How to Have a Great Dining-Out Experience
With summer right around the corner, you and your family will be presented with more and more opportunities for dining out. While it’s nice to eat at a restaurant with outside seating or at any range of places while on vacation, the changes to the eating routine, noisy crowds, and long waits can be challenging. Fortunately, there are tactics that can help to make mealtimes a little easier.
- Plan ahead: If you know where you are going to eat, see if they have a website or Facebook page and show your child images. Talk about what you see in the photos. What does your child think it will look like, smell like, and sound like? If they are prepared for the environment, it won’t be as overwhelming as it could be. Also, take a peek at the menu and talk about the different foods. If their favorite, go-to item isn’t on the list, you might want to call ahead and see if it’s something they actually have (many restaurants keep ingredients for foods like chicken fingers and grilled cheese in stock but don’t list them on the menu). If they don’t have the item, talk to your child about other options and prepare them to try something new.
- Avoid long waits: The longer the downtime before the meal, the more likely it is that your child will become antsy, which is not a recipe for a favorable evening. There are several steps that can be taken in an effort to lessen wait times.
- Make a reservation: You won’t have to wait for a table if the table is waiting for you.
- Go early: If you get to the restaurant at around 4 p.m., there won’t be as many patrons looking to be seated or as much competition in the kitchen, so your food just may get out quicker. Another advantage of going early is that the smaller crowds may make it easier for your child to feel comfortable.
- Mario’s or Marco’s: Italian and Mexican restaurants often put bread or chips on the table right away, and as a result, your child will not have to wait at the table with an empty stomach for the main course.
- Bring supplies: Taking along favorite toys, games, books, or a pen and paper can help to make downtime pass much quicker. You could also consider bringing some food from home should the wait become too long or the ordered dish not live up to expectations.
- Location, location, location: If the restaurant is accommodating, choosing the right place to sit can be a huge advantage in having a successful night.
- Ask to be seated away from particularly large groups or parties.
- Sit in a corner so there are fewer directions from which excess stimulation may come.
- Have your child sit facing away from areas where patrons or waitstaff will be making the most commotion.
- Request a booth and have your child sit on the inside to avoid the temptation of standing or running away.
- Exit strategy: The only thing worse for a kid than waiting for food is waiting after they’ve finished eating. Once the food is eaten, your child will likely want to head out pronto. To prepare for this, request the check when the server brings the entrees so you can leave as soon as the plates are clean.
Having an enjoyable and educational restaurant visit is an achievable goal, and by using these tips, your chances of a fantastic night out will skyrocket.
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Temple University Alma Mater Honors Joyce Salzberg!
Joyce Salzberg, Founder and CEO of Sunny Days, Inc. and Temple University alumni, has been honored by the College of Liberal Arts at Temple University with a new scholarship endowed in her name. The scholarship is targeted to students that are single parents. Congratulations Joyce
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