How therapy this summer can set your child up for success this coming school year
As the temperatures slowly rise in the Midwest and the school year draws to an end, children and parents alike are anticipating summer. For many families, summer is a welcome break from busy schedules, extracurricular activities, and academic pursuits. A dilemma that is often seen in our clinics this time of year is families deciding whether to start or maintain therapy appointments for their children during the summer.
There are several situations that may lead a family to consider terminating therapy over the summer. Scheduled vacations can interfere with regular therapy attendance. Parents may see some of the troubles that their children struggled with during the school year “disappear” due to a change of schedule, decreased academic pressures, and overall fewer commitments. While summertime provides a welcomed break from the commitments of a school year, decreased structure and fewer commitments can also be problematic for parents and their children alike. During the school year, your child benefits from interactions with teachers, coaches, and other school professionals on a daily basis. These professionals not only monitor your child’s academic progress but also his or her ability to function effectively day to day. When concerns arise, these professionals come together to support your child. But what happens when school is out for the summer?
While summertime often has the connotation of “slowing down,” it may be a good time to consider starting or increasing therapy sessions for your child or adolescent. Therapy in the summer allows your child the opportunity to proactively address anticipated problems in the coming school year, as well as maintain and improve skills that are needed in a school setting. Summertime additionally offers an opportunity to develop coping skills and engage in challenging mental tasks without the added pressure of school.
Benefits of beginning or continuing mental health therapy during the summertime:
We often hear from parents that it is difficult to schedule appointments during the school year due to busy schedules for the entire family. Between work schedules, extracurricular activities, and even a desire to have a “normal night at home,” it’s understandable that therapy can seem like another thing added to an already busy schedule during the school year. As your child or adolescent is out of school for the summer, they likely have increased time and availability to participate in therapy.
Therapy is often challenging, so engaging in mental tasks after a full day of school can be draining for adolescents. As school is not in session during the summer, adolescents likely have more energy to engage in mental tasks while in therapy.
Participating in day treatment groups (a higher level of therapy) provides adolescents the opportunity to develop interpersonal communication skills and engage in social situations with other people. This can result in increased social skills during the coming school year.
Finally, ensuring that your child is actively engaged in goal-directed activities during the summer can equip your child with the skills they need to be prepared to encounter social and academic challenges in the coming school year.
Christian Family Solutions offers several options for child and adolescent therapy, including individual counseling sessions and groups. Please click the links below for more information.