This tip sheet was written by a parent and reviewed by a Family Mentor to help other families prepare for outings, big or small!
Plan ahead for new experiences! Think about:
- Where are you going?
- What is the address?
- What is the contact information?
- Do you know how to get there?
- Do you need reservations?
- Who can answer questions when we get there?
- Is there a Guest Relations desk?
- Price of admission (e.g. child fee, student fee, adult fee, senior fee)
- Admission for companion (e.g. sometimes there is a reduced admission cost of the companion or supporter)
- Route and Transportation:
- Where is the location the attraction in relation to your house?
- How will you get there?
- Car: Is there parking?
- Bus: What is the nearest stop?
- Subway: What is the nearest stop?
- Taxi/Uber/Lyft: How much will it cost and is it accessible?
- Train: At which stop do you get off?
- Walking: Will you be taking a wheelchair or a walker? What kind of material is the path you will walk? (e.g. cement sidewalk, dirt path, cobblestone)
Your child might need to transition to a new experience. It’s okay for your child to be scared or worried to go to a new place.
- Talk to your child about how they can handle these fears. Some ways include:
- Visit the location and meet staff before starting the program
- Find out what a day or session looks like
- Focus on what they are looking forward to
- Talk about the fun things they will get to do
- Focus on how proud their parents will be of them
There might be longer outings where someone else is caring for your child, or you might not be there.
- If your child feels like they might miss you, you can encourage them to:
- Bring pictures of mom, dad, siblings, and pets
- Write a letter home if they feel sad
- Write in a diary
- Bring a flashlight or nightlight
- Let them pick one or two favourite toys, games, pillow, blanket, stuffed animal, or snacks (if allowed)
- Let staff know what the bedtime routine is:
- Does your child read a book before bed?
- Do you give gradual “lights out” warnings or time checks?
- Does your child take a shower before bed?
Outings with your child can be a new experience for both of you.
- Focus on the benefits of the experience, like making new friends, trying new activities or learning to do things on your own.
Acknowledge that trying new things can be difficult.
- Be prepared for setbacks and plan how you will manage.
- Take it one day at a time!
Last updated by a Family Support Specialist and Family Mentor in April 2018