Counseling means hope.
Ahhh summertime….Wait! The kids are home for the summer and trying to keep them entertained and not saying “I’m bored” every five minutes can be a full-time job. Summertime is a time for relaxation, sleep, being outside, and having fun. Depending on the age of your kids you may not know what relaxation and sleep are right now. If you have a child who has a mental illness or who is going through a hard time, summertime can be a long and hard three months.
Have no fear! Here are some tips and tricks to get through the summer with less stress and more fun!
- Have some structure to your day – kids need structure (which a school day provides). Keep it loose and flexible but predictable at the same time. If your kids are into artwork – have them help you create a fun artistic calendar for the family.
- Find local activities geared towards families and kids – there are lots!
- Find a new festival to try out each month of the summer – take turns having someone in the family pick a festival type that they want to attend and explore.
- Get a library card and use it.
- Try out the many trails we have here in Minnesota.
- Build a fort inside on a rainy day.
- Explore a new part of the Twin Cities that you haven’t been to.
- Be a Minnesota tourist – try out some of the ‘tourist’ attractions around town or within the state.
- Take the kids to the drive-in movies.
- Be active – get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day – have a dance party, go for walks, go to the park, play sports, learn a new sport.
- Play with your kids – be goofy and run around.
- Get outside each and every day. Make it a family outing. Create a scavenger hunt to do while on a walk and whoever finds the most things gets a prize at the end or the pride in winning.
- Limit screen time to two hours or fewer – use these hours wisely. Help teach your kids how to spread out their allotted time throughout a day – if they are younger – create a fun and artistic schedule for them on when they want to use their screen time.
- Find a support group of kids with similar mental health backgrounds so your child meets other kids and knows it’s not ‘just me’ who has______.
- Find a support group (or create one) of parents with similar interests as you – meet and make new friends (and supports!)
- Keep your therapy appointments. We know it’s easy to” take a break” or to “go less often” because it’s summer and kids want time to relax. This is actually the perfect time for kids to continue to work on topics they were addressing in therapy because they have less pressures from school and daily life so they can concentrate more on these topics with their clinician.
- Let kids have an ‘off’ day – we’re all human and have bad days once in a while – let them have one and work it out of their system. Help them create ways to improve their mood – what makes them happy? Excited? Create a ‘mood box’ of items around the house that helps them improve their mood so when they need ideas they can go to this box for inspiration.
- Break the rules! Okay not all the time, but once in a while break the rules and just have fun! Let your kids see that there is some flexibility within your rules on occasion.
- Keep all the rules that you set out for your kids for yourself too – model the behaviors you want them to do – it will be hard but you can do it.
We hope these have inspired you a bit for some new ideas to entertain the family this summer. Be present – enjoy the time you have and live in the moment with the kids. If these ideas are not enough to keep your child’s spirits up over the summer, FamilyMeans has clinicians available to assist. Visit FamilyMeans.org or call 651-439-4840 for more information!