Tips for Parenting Over Summer Vacation

Tips for Parenting Over Summer Vacation

The school year will be quickly coming to a halt soon, which means that the slow and sunny days of summer vacation are about to begin. For those with school-age children, summer means that your kids will have a few months without having school to attend, and you are maybe in need of some guidance on how to best approach this upcoming time. Summer does not automatically ensue for parents, though, and it can be a struggle to figure out how to approach the next few months ahead. Unless you are in a profession – such as teaching – that warrants you a summer break, you will still need to work or take care of other responsibilities during this time when your children are now home throughout the week.

On top of all these factors, maybe there are developmental matters at hand with your child, and you are worried that this long period of time outside of school will be too much of a change. If this is the case, reaching out to a mental health professional to meet with throughout the summer may be highly beneficial. Dr. Messina & Associates in Southlake, Texas is a wonderful therapy practice that specializes in a variety of mental health concerns, including those that affect school-age individuals. If you’re looking for some tips or insight on how to best go about the upcoming summer months, we’re here to help.


Allow Them to De-Stress

First and foremost, summer is a time for students to unwind after a long school year. School can be stressful for all grade levels, and it’s imperative for kids to get ample time off to unwind and just be kids before school starts back up again. Allowing your little ones to de-stress and unplug from responsibilities while they still have the privilege to do so is beneficial for their development and mental health, as well. Creating space from the pressures that school and everything it comes with can bring forward a much healthier state of mind if these factors have been a constant source of stress. This applies to both younger kids that may only be in elementary school or teens in high school. There will be more than enough times when they’re older when they’ll have to deal with stress and various responsibilities, and they will likely have a great appreciation for those summers when they were younger when stress was practically nonexistent.


Let Them Use Their Imaginations

Summer vacation is a time when the consistent routine and schedule of a school day is on a hiatus, and kids are suddenly left with a ton of free time. Some kids are used to and enjoy the opportunity to always have something to do, and they are not accustomed to feeling “bored.” Research has shown that allowing kids to feel boredom is actually a great thing, and it allows them to get creative and use their imaginations. It’s just the honest truth that there will be times when there is no one available to help entertain your kids, and that also turns into a great learning moment for them. Sometimes, the most memorable and fun days are the ones when it starts with feeling lazy and bored, but then inspiration sparks and the creativity takes over. Summer is the perfect time to let your kids be imaginative and possibly even discover new passions or interests.


Give Them a Change of Pace

Kids become so used to the daily schedule that comes along with school, and while these routines are healthy for their overall development, it’s fun to break things up now and then and to give them a change of pace. Taking some time off of work to go on a short family vacation, camping, or putting aside one day a week where you try something new or that you do not get to do often are all ways that you can break out of the standard day-to-day habits. Even though school has been pushed aside for the summer, it’s important for any school-age kids to remain mentally stimulated and engaged during this time – and it will make the transition back into school in the fall much smoother. For example, paying a visit to museums or other educational establishments is a fun way to integrate learning with a fun pastime.


Do Something for Yourself

It’s easy to become so accustomed to your children attending school each day, and when that completely stops come May or June, it can certainly feel overwhelming and stressful. Summer mode doesn’t suddenly turn on for most parents, as they still need to take care of responsibilities like working and everything that comes along with parenting. During this time of summer vacation, it’s important to remember to make time for yourself once in a while. The kids get to have their fun with summer break, why shouldn’t parents, as well? The change of pace that summer brings no doubt has an effect on you as the parent, and that is totally okay. There is no shame in hiring a babysitter or leaving the kids with a trusted friend or family member so that you can have a day or even a whole weekend to yourself to unplug and unwind.

We all remember how exciting summer vacation was when we were in grade school, and how much we anticipated when it would finally be the last day of school for the year. Kids should be kids as much as possible during summer break, but it is still a wise idea to ensure they are still engaged and learning throughout this time off. It is also a good idea to have some form of a routine over the summer, as kids typically benefit immensely from the structure that schedules bring. Summer is the perfect time to get outside plenty, to relax, and to really check in on the state of our mental health.

Getting Help

Dr. Messina & Associates has a caring and compassionate team of psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists that specialize in anxiety and depression in children, adolescents, and adults. In Person appointments are available in our DFW (Southlake) offices. Online appointments are available to patients in the Austin, DFW, Houston, and San Antonion areas. 

Dr. Michael Messina

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