Summer Fun: Heal, Empower, and Rejuvenate Your Kids
Harness the summer to revitalize your kids and family and shake off the blues.
- After a difficult year, a rejuvenating summer may help children ward off depression and anxiety.
- This summer, it may be best to avoid academically-focused classes aimed at catching up or speeding ahead.
- Summer opportunities may be found at schools, YMCAs, youth clubs, recreational sports groups, and arts centers.
We are not out of the woods yet. Hospital beds remain full, residential treatment centers have long wait-lists, and going to the psychiatry ER could take up to eight hours for an evaluation. Even though many schools have re-opened, children and adolescents continue to struggle with depression, anxiety, and social difficulties. Many are refusing to attend school in person, participate in group projects, or engage in after-school activities. Parents are struggling to persuade their children to unplug from their addiction to social media and online friends. After a year of living on the web, with platforms like TikTok and Discord offering virtual friends and 24/7 streaming, many of our children and teens continue to live vampire lives in their isolated and dark rooms.
At the end of a very long and lonely school year, with summer around the corner, vaccinations in full swing, and beaches, camps, and travel open again, we must grab this opportunity to heal, empower, and rejuvenate our children. Even though parents will be working, we now have the ability to sign our kids up for some wonderful, healthy, and creative classes and camps. The more you can get your young ones and teens out of the home, mixing and mingling with same-age peers, engaging in productive and fun activities, and being outdoors, the higher the probability of success to ward off depression and anxiety.
I caution against more academically focused classes to catch up or speed ahead. Our children have been cooped up online for over a year, and to continue that trend could perhaps reinforce social isolation, lending itself to an exacerbation of social anxiety, avoidance, and depression. Instead, I strongly recommend activities that focus on the outdoors, creativity, group activities, fun, and do not require electronics. These are the ingredients that are critical to facilitate social interactions and build on self-esteem, interpersonal skills, and confidence.
Many of our children have lost a year on practicing key developmental skills that foster confidence and self-esteem, including real, in-person, fun, and positive social interactions, physical activities, teamwork, and creativity. These are the building blocks that help kids thrive, no matter how old they are, in multiple domains of adaptive life functioning. The more we can infuse our children with these key ingredients, the faster we will help our children catch up developmentally, socially, and emotionally so that they can flourish once more. Reach out to your community resources, schools, YMCAs, youth clubs, recreational sports groups, and museums, theatre, and arts centers and make this the best summer ever to empower, heal, and rejuvenate your kids.