Don’t sweat it!

Enjoy your kids’ summer break with some stress-busting tips

Contributed by Jyoti Sachdeva, MD

family running in fieldWhen we were kids, summer was about staying up late, sleeping in and playing outside all day. Now, as parents, it can become a juggling act—trying to find childcare, keeping kids occupied all day, signing them up for engaging activities. But even with its stressors, summer is still a time to enjoy! It can mean making new memories as a family, watching your child gain a new skill and hearing about her new adventures and friendships.

Here are just a few tips to help keep summer stress free!

  1. Create a schedule. This is one of the easiest, and best things to do for the summer. But let me advise you to take the first week off before you set a schedule. Let the kids sleep in and maybe even eat ice cream for breakfast. They deserve a break! But after that, making a schedule, and sticking to it, gives everyone a little structure and sense of routine. It can be as simple as assigning specific chores to a day (Monday is laundry, Tuesday is sweeping) or more structured to suit your family’s needs.
  2. Involve the kids. Ask for your children’s help in making a schedule or picking out their summer activities. Enlisting them early will help them understand expectations and give them a voice (within reason!) in providing structure to their day.
  3. Set ground rules and expectations. Clearly communicate what the house rules are during summer—whether you’re at work or at home during the day. Be sure to discuss what you expect from your children each day, too. That could be how late they’re allowed to sleep in or stay up, what chores must be done or how much TV they can watch.
  4. Plan for fun! Summer is a great time of year to try new experiences with your family. Talk to your children about places they want to visit, restaurants they want to try or attractions they’d like to see. Pick outings together. Even if it’s just a regular night out or quick day-trip, you’ll be making fun memories that last a lifetime!

It’s normal to be stressed with any change in schedule. (That goes for your children, as well!) Making a plan, communicating expectations and recognizing when you start to feel stressed can go a long way to reducing anxiety. But if you ever feel like stress is impacting your sleep, relationships or diet, it may be time to seek professional help. You don’t have to work through challenging times alone. Please call 513-475-UC4U if you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment to speak to one of our behavioral health specialists or psychiatrists.

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