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As people who have been adulting for a while, a Whole Summer Off can seem like the most desirable thing in the world. We long for the days when we were kids and had nothing to do. We reminisce about long stretches of time where we played or read or watched TV. We didn’t have to be anywhere. We didn’t have to do anything. 

Sounds like paradise, no?

Not for Orchid Kids.

For many Orchid Kids, a Whole Summer Off can seem like a black hole of anxiety.

And even if our Orchid Kids are scheduled for camps and other activities, summer can feel disorienting. 


Lots of Orchid Kids rely on routine to give them boundaries. When they have a routine, they know what to do. They know who they’re with. They know what comes next. They can keep their brains and bodies calm and regulated (more often). Or, if they’re not able to keep their brains and bodies calm, at least they know what they are fighting against

Without routine, life can seem unpredictable.

Life can seem unknown and unknowable.

Life can seem like it has no guardrails.

Life can seem UNSAFE. (?!?!)

It’s not that your Orchid Kid’s life is actually unsafe. Of course they’re not in danger. Of course you have their back. Of course you’re taking care of their needs. And watching out for them.

It’s that their brain PERCEIVES life as being unsafe. Their brain PERCEIVES danger everywhere. Their brain is wired to PERCEIVE any change as a threat.

Which, it turns out, is basically the same thing as actually being in danger since perception creates reality.

There’s no difference in your child’s brain between actually being in danger and the feeling of being in danger.

No difference. (!)

I’m going to say that again because it’s Big:

There is no difference (in your child’s brain) between actually being in danger and the feeling of being in danger.

We’ll come back to this idea later in another post, but since we’re talking about summer, here are some things you can do to help your child feel safe — even if there’s no external structure planned this summer:

  1. Make a routine even. A routine can be as simple as:

Wake up – Eat – Play outside – Play inside – Eat – Rest – Eat – Play Outside – Play inside – Eat – Sleep

  1. Tell your child the plan each day. Review it in the morning, at midday and again at night.
  2. Cut back on the variety of different activities and opt for the favorites. If your child likes to go to the same park every day, go! It’s ok.

The strategies might seem simple. They might even seem unnecessary. But, will you try them and see if you notice any difference in your child’s behavior?

Knowing what to expect goes a LONG way to calming anxiety and reducing related behaviors. Because it makes life predictable. It makes life known. And therefore it makes life SAFE. 

And only when we feel Safe can we truly function and operate in the world. 

If you’re having trouble figuring out a summer routine or how to handle your Orchid Kid’s summertime woes, we can help with that. Reach out to find out more about our parent coaching services by emailing

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