Maintaining Good Mental Health for Kids during the Summer
School is almost out and summer has arrived! While this is an exciting and relaxing time for some, it can also the beginning of summer boredom and loneliness for others. We worry about our kids during the school year plenty. Are they making friends? Are they being bullied? Are they kind to others? Are they completing their work? But what about during the summer? They are suddenly out of routine and not surrounded by friends, teachers, and other supportive people all day. It’s all up to the parents now to take notice if something is off with their child and to help them to stay healthy and mentally well.
Here’s some tips you can use to make sure your kids are maintaining good mental health during the summer break.
Routine, routine, routine!
During the school year, we’re used to a daily routine on weekdays. Try to maintain some sort of daily routine. You can do this by:
- Keeping a consistent bedtime and wake-up time
- Prioritizing regular meal times
- Establishing some daily activities like chores, exercise, or social activities
It’s so easy to stay inside watching TV or playing video games, but encourage them get outside and enjoy the sun. Just 10 minutes in the sun a day gives the daily recommended amount of Vitamin D to our bodies. Some benefits of being in the sunlight on your mental health include:
- Increased Vitamin D levels which improves mood and increases energy.
- Helps you stay active
- Boosts serotonin production (a hormone that regulates our mood)
Take some down time
For those kids that are on the go nonstop during the school year, summer can be a time to take a break from the stress and overcommitted schedule. It’s tempting to squeeze as much fun as possible into the summer, but some down time is important to relax, reset, and reflect.
Be sure your kids are calling friends, having play dates, meeting up to hang out, and whatever else they enjoy doing with their friends! Attempt as much in-person interaction as possible and not just through social media or gaming. If they are not likely to do that naturally, consider signing them up for summer camps or sports teams.
Keep your eyes open
During summer break, kids no longer have teachers, friends, coaches, and the like looking out for them and noticing changes. Keep your eyes especially open during these months and interact regularly.
- Check in with your child and ask them open-ended questions about how they are feeling. Avoid trying to give advice or solutions, especially with teens and adolescents.
- Look for sudden mood changes
- Contact a doctor or therapist if necessary. Don’t let their mental health continue to worsen. If you notice this, get them the help that they need.
If you liked what you read and feel I could be of assistance to you and your family, feel free to schedule a free 10-minute consult with me at your convenience online HERE! I’m here to help!
Kim Hamilton, MAMFT specializes in working with kids, teens, and parents to bring emotional regulation and harmony to families and households. She works from a non-judgemental, solution-focused, non-pathologizing perspective that creates win-win scenarios within relationships. Megan Bayles Bartley is excited for Kim to join the team and knows she will be a wonderful resource for your family.
Find out more on Kim’s bio page on the Louisville Mindfulness Center website!