June: Swinging into Summer 

Ahhhh….SCHOOL IS OUT….those three little words can bring a whole host of emotions flooding down on parents and children – excitement, sadness, relief, dread, worry, stress…and the list goes on.  Summer = camps – work – vacation – swimming – sun – fun – tears – late nights – travel – screen time – snacks – routines (what routine?)

Some children (and parents) are super excited for summer and can’t wait for the school year to end, while others are sad, nervous or scared – to say goodbye to their teachers, classmates, possibly their school, and their comfortable and predictable daily routines.

All of these feelings are perfectly normal and OK! The end of a school year is a transition time; some transitions are welcome and others are hard. Transitions mean change and change, even when it’s a good change, stress or anxiety may be felt, especially when there are some unknown pieces.

Did you know that a lot of people’s stress and anxiety stems from the unknown? Not knowing what to expect, what will happen, how things will play out are stressful thoughts, yet thoughts we as adults counter on a regular basis – we know the world is unpredictable and that uncertainty is part of life – nothing is guaranteed (other than taxes).

As our children’s brains continue to grow and develop, learning how to navigate the unknown, become comfortable with uncertainty and face new situations are skills they can learn and practice. How does that help us manage the summer months…..? There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this age-old question.


Some ideas to help guide your family through these months include:

    • Flexibility and grace for everyone
      Recognizing it’s okay for summer structure to be different than school structure
    • Limit screen time (no screens before noon or bed)
    • Include your child’s input on how they would like their days or months to go
    • Daily outdoor time for everyone
    • “Yes” days (say yes to all child requests within reason/boundaries)
    • Mindfulness/quiet time each day (color, read, sit quietly, yoga, breathe deeply, journal)

Take-Aways from the UPside:

    1. Find a routine and schedule that works for your family. Children thrive with routines and schedules, but remember it is summer, so the routine can look different than your routine during the school year.
    2. Take some time to relax and reset your system – however that looks for you and your child – a day of nothing planned, a day trip to the beach, a walk to the park, a day where you child is in charge.
    3. Allow your child to express any difficult emotions, like worry or sadness, but don’t dwell for extended periods of time in those feelings. Finding the balance between acknowledging and accepting feelings is key to healthy growth. Research shows that emotions give purpose and focus to our thinking and help us to understand our priorities and needs.