It might be natural to think your child’s mental health is not as much of a concern in the summer months.
While they are away at camp, or playing with friends, what could possibly be going wrong? The truth is the summertime is perhaps one of the times of the year we need to be most in tune with our children’s mental health. Why? Their entire routine is off, and, a dependable and predictable schedule can be the key to good mental health. Here are some tricks and things you can do to help make sure your kids stay mentally healthy this summer (especially after the difficult pandemic year at school behind them).
- Keep a routine. While I am not suggesting you keep a rigorous routine. I recommend you think about regular bedtimes, eating times, playing outside times and bedtimes. Doing this can keep you kids on their regular internal clock and, the results are usually they are easier to deal with because they know what to expect.
- Have plans and try to stick to them. This can be tricky with a lot of parents working from home, but try to make playdates, schedule a vacation, go on a day trip or just plan a daily walk. Some flexibility might have to come into play, but do the best you can to navigate your workday and planning and engaging in your child’s social schedule.
- Get outside! It is so tempting to let our children set in front of a television or other electronics all day, but they really need to get outside for their mental health. And, yours too! Take a trip to a park, have a picnic, walk the dog, plant a garden. There are many outdoor activities that are amazing for our mental health that take place during the summer months. Even mowing the lawn (if your child is old enough) can be cathartic!
- Have some down time. Summer does not need to be go, go, go! I know we are all eager to leave the house after the last year and do things, but pace yourself. Doing too many things all at one time or in one day can be too stimulating for the brain and lead to exhaustion. It is ok to have a day designated for reading, tidying up the house or just watching movies. Especially those hot days!
The Businessolver Foundation supports the mental health of all, and it is one of our main philanthropic giving pillars. We know it is something many people deal with, but there are ways to get help. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, it is always advisable to seek help. For immediate assistance the National Alliance on Mental Illness or NAMI has resources. Call the NAMI helpline at 800-950-6264 M-F, 10 am – 8 pm ET or in a crisis, text NAMI to 741741 for 24/7, confidential, free counseling.