Summer is slowly coming to an end. Many families are experiencing a mixture of feelings, both positive and negative. Some of the positives are excitement for a new school year, a desire for normalcy, and being ready for routine. Some of the negatives are continuing to worry about the impact of COVID-19 (Will it throw us for a loop?), getting kids back into a routine, pressure to finish summer projects and sadness or frustration that we didn’t accomplish all we planned for the summer.
How To Start Planning
A mixture of emotions is normal; however, it is best to start planning and preparing for what is next. It is a good time to talk with the family and figure out how to make the most of what time is left this summer, by prioritizing and making a plan – whether that’s to slow down and enjoy summer or get ready for the next adventure and jump into the second half of the year.
Take time to plan for the transition back to school by figuring out bus schedules, class schedules, and extracurriculars. As the transition takes place, keep in mind how important sleep is for the mind and the body. Many individuals, both adults and kids, have a disrupted sleep schedule. To ease into the transition of back to school successfully, plan to start incorporating a bedtime routine two weeks before the school year starts.
Plan engaging, family-building opportunities. Involvement in activities such as clubs, sports, volunteering, and church, is important for skill-building, socialization, and other important aspects of life such as time management and community support. The pandemic put a damper on some of these opportunities, which ignited symptoms of depression and social anxiety. As life returns to normal, think outside the box. Challenge yourselves and become involved as a family. Kids who have engaged parents are highly motivated and are more likely to be successful in school, develop self-confidence, and demonstrate positive social skills.
Adjusting to a New Routine
Remember, kids need time to adjust to a new routine, and so do parents. Go over the rules and expectations for the school year. Include conversations about chores, homework, and academic expectations. Schedule in family time. Life is busy and ongoing; take time to remember and enjoy what is important to you.
Parents: no matter how you are feeling as summer draws to an end, remember, your most important job is to teach your children to be successful adults. Demonstrate positive skills; show them you can embrace change, manage your time and emotions, and take on the fall with renewed energy. Kids thrive from positive parenting!
This blog article was contributed by Dr. Lindsey Lilly, Ph.D., LP, Licensed Psychologist for Nexus-Gerard Community Mental Health.
Nexus Family Healing is a national nonprofit mental health organization that restores hope for thousands of children and families who come to us for outpatient/community mental health services, foster care and adoption, and residential treatment. For over 45 years, our network of agencies has used innovative, personalized approaches to heal trauma, break cycles of harm, and reshape futures. We believe every child is worth it — and every family matters. Learn more at nexusfamilyhealing.org