It’s that time of year. For the kids, it couldn’t be more exciting! School’s out! Summer is here! No worries! No stress! Just fun!
Parents, on the other hand, might see this joy-filled time as somewhat less than joyful. Parents may be dealing with more concerns, such as the stress of children being at home all summer long. They may be preparing themselves to find childcare, activities, and entertainment. They may be praying for the willpower to have patience through the never-ending comments of “I’m bored,” or “There’s nothing to do.” Some parents who are working may struggle with guilt over not being able to be home with their kids during the summer. Some parents are thankful that they are working so they can have some peace.
Parents might notice that their kids struggle during the summer and aren’t sure why. They might notice that their child is more irritable, angry, tired, or sad more often. They may notice that they have a more difficult time following directions and listening to their parents. Sometimes it might seem like their children are purposely ignoring them or talking back.
Why do some kids struggle in the summer? It’s supposed to be a carefree time to enjoy the outdoors and let creativity run wild. It’s the best time to be a kid. But for some children, summer can be difficult for a multitude of reasons. Lack of structure and routine can be a challenge for children, and they can become more emotionally dysregulated the longer they go without routine (which is why by August, parents are pulling their hair out). Increased screen time can contribute to increased irritability, anxiety, and sadness. Less social interaction with friends from school can contribute to increased sadness, loneliness, and boredom.
As you prepare for summer with the kids, keep these tips in mind:
- Structure helps. Plan some activities that your child might enjoy, keeping in mind that downtime is another important part of the day.
- Limit screen time. Click here for a website that helps calculate your family's media usage and create a family media plan.
- Encourage outdoor play. Please click here for some ideas.
- Encourage time spent with peers.
- When your child complains about boredom, have them write down four things they can do, then have them pick one and do it.
If you identify with any of the above concerns, or notice some of these challenges in your children, counseling may be a helpful option. We can help explore patterns of emotions and behaviors to figure out what the source of the issue is, and then teach coping skills to help your child manage difficult emotions.
If you or your child is struggling with the transition to summer and would like to talk with one of our professional Christian counselors, please click here to request an appointment or call 800-438-1772.