Thoughtful Parenting: Fending off summer stress
May 20, 2017
Not all children are excited for the coming summer. For many children, this is a time that may bring increased levels of anxiety. They are transitioning from a structured day, where they know what to expect, and for many, summer is an unknown, where they may be at home with little to no supervision or the responsibility of caring for younger family members. In addition, some students' anxiety could be increased due to parents scheduling a multitude of activities in order to keep the children busy while they are at work.
As a parent or family member, there are many ways you can help make the transition to summer. It is important to have a healthy balance between structured down time and quality time with the family. In addition, setting aside a time to have a family conversation about expectations for the summer may be helpful. It might lessen stress for parents and students to write down a balanced itinerary before summer begins. Making this conversation a priority early in the summer could lessen chaos and forestall arguments down the road.
We are fortunate to live in a community that has a variety of resources for students in the summer, no matter what their interests are. Together, as a family, explore what your child/children's interests are, and seek out local opportunities for them to participate in.
Summer can also be a rite of passage. It often is a time when many students are figuring out who they are as a person, what their values are and what aligns and does not align with the current peer group and/or family. With this in mind, it is important to maintain healthy boundaries with your adolescents and know who they are with and where they are. Regular check-in times with adolescents may help everyone feel more secure. Do not hesitate to seek professional help if any problem should arise.
Summer is a time of unlimited possibilities for families to have fun together, try new activities and enjoy meaningful, unscheduled free time. Here's to a memorable, happy, and healthy summer.
Bonnie Robertson is a Steamboat Springs family student advocate.