Why Highly Sensitive Children Struggle with Summer Break & How to Help Them

The end of the school year draws close, or is already upon some of you. There’s a collective sigh of relief as school is put on hold for a few months. No alarm clocks and morning struggles for a while.  Empty days and summer awaits. And for your highly sensitive child (HSC) that may have a surprisingly negative impact.

Why Highly Sensitive Children Struggle with Summer Break & How to Help Them

Why a HSC Has Difficulty Transitioning From School to Summer Break

Empty days. No obligations. No early mornings. No struggling to get out of the door on time. No days full of classrooms, lessons and busy activities. Heavenly right?

Well yes and no.

For a HSC the absence of a daily routine can cause stress and a feeling of chaos.

HSCs like routines. They like structure. They like to know what is coming. They like to picture their day. And school provides a surprisingly easy way for that to happen. Take away school and you take away the predictability of their day.

So whilst your HSC may love the idea of summer break and no school they may actually have a problem getting used to vacation time. They need time and help to make that transition.

It takes my three boys at least a week to shake the school year off, get used to the lack of routine and start enjoying their break.

Vacation Plans?

If you have a summer holiday planned your HSC may take even longer to feel settled with the new routine (or lack of). If you are heading somewhere new a HSC may be excited but at the same time also feel stressed. Changes in environment can be difficult for a HSC, even if it is a fun summer holiday they are looking forward to.

Read: How to Get the Best Out of Your Vacation with a Highly Sensitive Child

How to Survive Summer Break with a HSC

  • Structure. That’s the key to surviving summer break with a HSC. It doesn’t have to be regimented, or rigidly structured every day, but help your HSC see how their week/day will look before you get there.
  • Plan. Hang up an overview of the month (week by week) so your HSC can see what’s on the agenda.
  • Make it fun! Sit down at the beginning of summer break and have each kid make a summer bucket list. Involve your HSCs in the planning of their summer.
  • Build in bucket time to your day – for the kids but for you too! Having the kids home all the time means you need to think about your own bucket too.
  • Schedule down time in the calendar after a busy day. Actually plan it in and write it on the calendar.
  • Engage help – set up playdates, ask family and friends to help out.
  • Use calming tools. Have a bucket box set up and ready for use when you see your child struggling.
  • Keep normal life going. If you have a visual planner or a chore chart set up (take a peek at the Kids Command Centre if you don’t yet have one set up yet), for example, then continue using it during the summer break.
  • Look for tools to make the transition from school to the summer break fun for you and your HSC.

Tip: The Sunny Day Family Printable Summer Activity Planner for Kids (with Summer Fun Coupon Book too!). If you use the code FRIENDS you get 25% off any item in the shop.

Summer Activity Planner for Kids

Return to School

Prepare your HSC well in advance for the return to school as the summer break comes to an end. Read: How to Help Your Highly Sensitive Child Back to School After the Summer Break.


FYI: For your convenience, this post may include affiliate links to products and books I find useful.  They cost you nothing more to buy, but I may get a small commission.



About Amanda van Mulligen

Mother, writer, author, blogger. Born British, Living Dutch. I have three Dutch sons and a Dutch husband and I blog about Turning Dutch and raising highly sensitive children.
This entry was posted in The How, The What and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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