What are your kids doing these days? We know kids that have swim team every morning at 5 AM, some that are travelling to Costa Rica to support turtle hatcheries, and others that are lifeguarding at the beach. Some kids are engaged in epic video game warfare, and we have learned more about Magic: The Gathering (like a modern day Pokemon-ish card game, but with magic) than we ever imagined. One of my sons is chopping down trees and pulling weeds at a deeply forested school in the 100 degree heat!
With all of the choices for summer enrichment and engagement, how do we build in strategies for maintaining some structure, forging deeper relationships with one another, and also getting in some well-deserved time out for rest and relaxation? Our Wise Family has some ideas for you – check them out!
Kasey Cain, Resident in Counseling – Therapist for The Wise Family: One of the best things about working with children is that I get to incorporate my love of kid’s literature into my sessions. The benefits of daily reading (or listening to books being read), for all ages, are well researched and documented.
As a therapist, educator, and mother, my go-to strategy to help bring some structure to summer is to encourage children to participate in some sort of summer reading program. There is no shortage of these. For example, Barnes and Noble – and other booksellers nationwide – ask participants to fill out a form upon completing 8 books. When kids turn in the form, they get a FREE book!
Many local libraries also offer a program where children who read a certain number of books (numbers vary by age) recieve a coupon book filled with great deals and freebies. Or they host a donut party for all of the summer readers before school starts. The best part about this is all of the extra benefits kids recieve. Through the act of participating, a child has set a goal and engaged in a healthy activity (reading) to achieve the goal. They have continued their academic and social-emotional learning and explored feelings, problem solving, empathy, perspective taking etc. through relating to stories and characters. If you need any suggestions for engaging reading for your child, whether an avid or reluctant reader, feel free to email! I am always happy to provide suggestions and support!
Amanda Beyland, LCSW – Therapist for The Wise Family: When summer comes to mind, most people think of a few months filled with fun, vacations, and relaxation! For some families, summer turns into a time of constant chauffeuring to and from swim practice, camp, and friends’ houses.
With so much to do and so many places to be, the thought of relaxing often goes right out the window! A good strategy to help bring a little calm to constantly being on the go is to schedule some weekly family time at home. It does not have to be anything fancy (or stressful). Think about a family game night, stargazing in the backyard, going on a scavenger hunt, or having a water balloon fight! This strategy gives you a night in with the family as well as a break from the rush of summer activities.
Dominique Adkins, EdD – Therapist for The Wise Family: As summer reaches past the half mark, teens become increasingly aware of the fast approaching end of summer. With tryouts and school activities starting back up in the coming weeks it is important to STAY PRESENT. Summer is NOT over yet. There is still plenty of time to create exciting new memories. Check out Cinema Del Ray “Movies Under the Stars Outdoor Movies Series” or free Sunday yoga at Lululemon here in Alexandria. (If you live outside of Alexandria, many cinemas in varying cities offer outdoor movie nights! Check out your local town/city directory for info.)
There are endless free fun activities still to come this summer. Be sure to try at least one! Take time to enjoy these moments while you prepare for the return of these responsibilities. Remember if you have to practice for tryouts. A great strategy is to practice with friends or family. Lastly, focus on your present moment and the stress of the future will slowly fade away so you can have fun!
As always, Be Wise!