Tips for Planning a Vacation with a Child with Special Needs

Tips for Planning a Vacation with a Child with Special Needs

Planning a family vacation can be quite a taxing ordeal. Supreme foresight and organization is required to ensure that everyone in your family is pleased and that the entire vacation goes off without a hitch. Planning a family vacation that not only meets the interest of all family members, but also their skills and abilities, makes the entire planning process even trickier. Luckily, the following tips for planning a vacation with a child with special needs can help you arrange a family adventure that everyone will enjoy.

Choose family-friendly activities

One of the best tips for planning a vacation for a child with special needs is to choose activities that are specifically designed with families in mind. Zoos, pools, and other outdoor spaces are great options, because they provide your child with the perfect opportunity to simply be a child. These attractions also frequently host special programs for children that allow them to learn and play to their heart’s content.

Interactive museums are also a fun opportunity for children with special needs. Interactive museums are often a much better option for children with special needs than a traditional museum, as they encourage the child to take a hands-on approach to learning and invite them to get up close and personal with each exhibit. Many museums even offer additional hours specifically for visitors with special needs. During these extended hours, visitors with special needs can experience the museum in a less stressful environment. Music is played at a lower volume, lights are dimmed, and comprehensive brochures detail exactly what one can expect at each exhibit. These extended hours are perfect for children with sensory issues.

Stick to a routine

Children with special needs thrive off routine, so try to stick to a schedule as much as possible during your vacation. The thought of setting an alarm while on vacation may be appalling at first, but it’s the best way to ensure your child and entire family stay on track for the duration of your vacation. Wake up at the same time each morning, try to eat meals around the same time you would at home, and follow your nighttime routine exactly. This will help your child find some semblance of normalcy while sleeping and eating in an entirely new environment. Of course, not everything about your vacation will be exactly like it is at home. Prepare your child for any coming changes as soon as you can. Alerting them that they may need to share a room or spend extra time in the car as soon as possible will allow you both ample time to process the information and prepare for the upcoming changes.

Take a break

To make the most of their vacation days, many people feel the need to pack their schedule to the brim. When vacationing with a child with special needs, however, it’s important that you take a moment to rest and just breathe. Vacations can be quite overwhelming and sometimes it’s best to plan a day simply to relax. You can spend the day lounging in your hotel room or the pool. Take this time to recuperate and spend quality time with your loved ones. After a full day’s rest, you’ll be refreshed and ready to tackle the remainder of your vacation.

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