9 Ways to Unwind This Summer As a Family with a Child Who Is Blind

Kids having fun swinging in park

Understand that I am a teacher for students with visual impairments and an orientation and mobility specialist. So here come the “summer learning assignments”. Let’s get those kiddos prepared for the school year; let’s intensify training now that there’s time; let’s structure this summer just right. Just kidding!

I will surely blog ideas for making meaningful learning opportunities out of your summer experiences, but I don’t want our focus to be on “downloading” information onto our little ones and teens.

Instead, let’s intentionally let loose and enjoy our children. Here are my 9 suggestions for unwinding this summer:

  1. Determine an appropriate amount of time to break from your child’s therapies or training and press pause. Take a week off or a month off and don’t feel guilty, your other TVI (me!) told you to do it!
  2. Plan a getaway. Perhaps a “staycation”, a trip to a nearby city, or a scenic cruise…whatever is in the budget and enjoyable, do it. Make those memories and reconnect.
  3. Get outside. For as many minutes or hours as the heat allows, venture into the great outdoors. Fly a kite; walk a trail; garden; fish; make a sandbox; enjoy the beach; or sit on a hammock. It’s respite and the whole family needs it.
  4. Enjoy the company of others. Initiate a playdate; join a stroller striders group; take your pre-teen and his friends to the movies; go camping with family friends; invite your neighbors over for BBQ; and join a support group parents of children who are blind.
  5. Slow down. Deliberately leave days open on your calendar; don’t rush your child unless truly necessary; and move a little less hurried.
  6. Play. Sometimes we encourage our children to play independently or with a sibling or friend, but let’s remember to join them as well. This may entail joining a little one who is playing with a musical toy, running through the sprinkler with slightly older ones, or asking your teen to teach you his wrestling moves.
  7. Read. Read books for enjoyment; read books aloud to your children; and ask your older children to read to you. Venturing into a novel is like a mental vacation! (I know some of you, including my husband, disagree!)
  8. Encourage your family members to set aside time for hobbies. Do what you love to do! Help your child with a visual impairment find a hobby he loves to do; read Exposure to Hobbies to guide you in the process.
  9. Infuse spontaneity! I’m over here asking you to slow down, read, and swing on a hammock—all great things! But really, have some crazy-unexpected fun times too. Get ice cream at 10PM with your school aged kids; ask your child what she wants to do for the day and do it; take a last minute ride to the water park. Sometimes we move fast to unwind, throwing the schedule to the wind.

What do you do for rest, relaxation, and reconnection with the family? I’d love your suggestions!