How to maintain structure over the summer break and keep summertime fun

Summer break means more downtime for kids and a rest from the hectic school schedule. Still, it’s important for kids with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to maintain as consistent a routine as possible.

These tips can help you manage routines and set expectations:

  • Keep a regular schedule. Mealtimes and bedtimes should occur close to the same time every day.
  • Plan for consistent structure throughout the day. Build in some time to review skills learned in school and practice social skills—but also allow time for play and rest.
  • Use a picture schedule to help your child anticipate weekly activities. If you already use one, add summer activity pictures for events like swimming or visiting the park.

Ultimately there will be days that don’t stick to your child’s typical summer schedule. A day trip to a local theme park or a family beach vacation can be stressful for kids with autism. Make your child aware of these days as far in advance as possible. Provide details and answer all her questions about the change. It’s also a good idea to set up expectations you have for her participation and behavior during these changes.


We recognize that every child is unique and that the content of this article 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.