Last year, there was an article in the Washington Post about how the loss of school-year routines, increased screen time, overscheduled activities- and boredom in between, travel stress, and changes in eating and sleeping habits can result in anxiety for kids during the summer months (Hurley, 2019). This year, the changes started early and unexpectedly with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. What followed was a whirlwind of unexpected circumstances. As this blog post is being written, the return to school in a physical classroom is still unknown. There is comfort in knowing what to expect, so even while we all wait together in a stressful state of perpetual uncertainty about what is yet to come, there are actions we can take to help our children manage through this difficult time. In doing so, we may also help ourselves.
ROUTINE: When the comfort of consistency is lost, try to offer some advance notice about the schedule changes that are coming up. Allow some time to adjust and plan, and be open to answering questions.
COMMUNICATE: Schedule time to talk with your kids about anything that concerns them. This will keep them involved with their own schedules and less likely to feel lost in the shuffle of activities.
PLAN AHEAD: Whenever possible, plan ahead and include your kids in the planning. Map out as much of their out-of-school itinerary as possible and include them in the discussion when changes come up.
BE A ROLE MODEL: Life can be hectic, even without extenuating circumstances. Children look to their parents and guardians for behavioral cues in stressful situations. Put your best face forward!
COMFORT: Never underestimate the power of a hug!
Hurley, K. (2019, January 20). Kids’ anxiety can spike during the summer. Here’s why, and what parents can do to help. The Washington Post, Lifestyle. https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2019/06/20/kids-anxiety-can-spike-during-summer-heres-why-what-parents-can-do-help/