Summer is a surprisingly common time for anxiety and depression in children. The loss of structure and social interaction from school may be disorienting, and downtime can be its own kind of stress. If you notice a change in your child’s mood or habits, or they share that they’ve been feeling bad for an extended period of time, there are measures you can take to decrease summer stressors.
Summer is a time for relaxation, but keeping at least a basic routine can be a good way to foster a sense of stability and well-being. Swimming lessons, a weekly trip to the library, family dinner time, and scheduled play dates are all great ways to provide comfort through an established schedule.
Audit Digital Habits
While screen time can be a way to unwind, a child’s primary source of social interaction shouldn’t be digital. Does your child seem to be isolating themselves to spend more time on their devices? Are they unusually agitated when asked to put them away? If so, try parental controls and screen-time tools to develop a candid picture of your child’s device usage. As you adjust your rules around screen time, be sure to seek non-digital activities to fill the extra time, like day camps, play dates, or creative activities like crafts together.
Remember your role in modeling good digital habits. Do you look down at your devices when your child is speaking to you? Do you feel uncomfortable at the thought of spending a day without your phone, tablet, or laptop? The rules for digital moderation may be most successful when applied to the whole family.
Spend time having one-on-one conversations together and building a trusting relationship. Increased trust and communication mean you’ll be the first to know about the pressures your child is feeling. From grades to friendships to appearance, the problems resting on your child’s shoulders may be heavier than you realize.
Ask questions to help them explore thoughts and concerns rather than trying to fix each problem. Often, we know the answers to our worries deep down but need to be heard in order to access them. A supportive parent who engages in active listening can make a major difference.
As you navigate the journey of parenting, know that you aren’t alone. Support is out there to help you deepen family connections and help your children through difficult emotions.
Mahajan Therapeutics offers professional assistance for youth anxiety and depression. Contact us today.