Summer is here! School is over, and the kids are home. Let that last part sink in: the kids are home.
Children are a tremendous blessing from God, but with a sudden, drastic schedule change, they can also be quite a challenge for stay-at-home moms and dads and busy couples. They are used to being occupied all day, to have structured activities ready for them, and to have constant attention from their teachers and peers. So, what happens if you now have to fill that void? This task can be very daunting. Juggling their activities, trying to find things for them to do, breaking up arguments and the physical melees that come with sibling rivalries or boredom—it can be stressful, anxiety provoking, and utterly exhausting at times. Some parents actually experience “caregiver burnout,” such as nurses or paramedics can get from stressful work conditions. This is especially true if their children are particularly challenging due to emotional or behavioral difficulties.
This constant serving of others without taking much-needed recovery time for you can lead to exhaustion, anxiety, and/or depression. Parents may need to seek help for these overwhelming emotions. Spouses, friends, or our pastors can help offer support and guidance. At times, if your emotions are strong and you feel anxious or begin to feel depressed, a counselor can help you move forward and address these issues.
Self-care is very important so you can be the parent God designed you to be. Set aside moments for yourself throughout the day to rest. Be sure to eat healthy foods and get plenty of sleep. For the little (or bigger) ones, structure may help them have a smoother summer. Try to keep the same schedule for meals, snacks, play time, and activities. This helps reduce anxiety for both you and your children.
Also, take advantage of community resources. Most libraries have summer programs and activities throughout the week. Make these a part of the routine. Movie theaters often have free kids’ movies during the summer as well. For older kids, community centers also have various sports and summer camps available.
Don’t forget the wonderful opportunities you have to help your children grow spiritually. Vacation Bible School will come around soon. Take some time to go over what your kids learn each day. Find age-appropriate devotions to read daily. Encourage your children, as well as yourself, with these simple messages from God’s Word! Summer can be wonderfully exhilarating, and at times, emotionally draining. Shepherds, we need to take care of ourselves well, so we can care for our little lambs.
Are you feeling overwhelmed? Do you need to talk to someone about it? Call Christian Family Counseling at 800.438.1772 or click on the Request Appointment page on our website.