How adding structure to summer days can reduce stress for kids with autism and keep them engaged with learning and fun

While the free-flowing days of summer can be relaxing for some children, the break from school routines may be stressful for kids with autism, who often thrive in structured and predictable settings.

Parents can work with their children to ensure they don’t lose the skills they gained or forget what they learned during the school year. Keep the momentum going during the summer with these strategies for continued learning and engagement.

  • Plan ahead and discuss these plans with your child. Give her an opportunity to ask questions about any activities.
  • Maintain a familiar routine, even when traveling. As much as possible, stick to the same mealtimes and bedtimes you keep during the school year.
  • Keep a homework regimen in place. You may use this time to focus on social and emotional skills instead of academic skills.
  • Turn everyday activities like going to the grocery store or helping around the house into learning opportunities. Use these events to teach a new skill or practice one she already has.
  • Reinforce positive behaviors. Reward your child for practicing skills like reading and following house rules.
  • Help your child learn through play and encourage time outdoors. Play-based activities are crucial to improving skills in every developmental area.

Although scheduling is key, make sure to allow for breaks and down time. And don’t forget to focus on having fun—it might lead to discoveries and development your child doesn’t normally find in a classroom.


We recognize that every child is unique and that the content of these articles may not work for everyone. This content is general information and is not specific medical advice. We hope these tips will serve as a jumping-off point for finding the best approach to helping a child with autism. Always consult with a doctor or healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about the health of a child. In case of an urgent concern or emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department right away. Some physicians and affiliated healthcare professionals on the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta team are independent providers and are not our employees.