HOW TO DEAL WITH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES IN THE SUMMER.
Summer is usually a break from routines and structure. This comes as a relief to kids as the thoughts of playing outdoors and no homework are exciting. Unfortunately, the break from the structure can pose a threat for parents who have children with mental health concerns.
During the school year, children with mental health diagnosis usually have a structured routine. This routine is built around their needs, medications, and diet. Over time, both the parents, teachers and family members of a child become reliant on these routines.
The beautiful lack of structure of summer puts these routines at risk. While summer is welcomed by most kids, mental health concerns can still be a big issue for families.
It is normal to see parents struggle to maintain structure and routine with their kids especially those with mental health issues during summer. These kids are sometimes given strict rules and limitations that can suck the fun out of being on break. On the other hand, a lax hold on the routine might lead to further problems or concerns for the child.
Tips for dealing with summer mental health issues in kids and teens.
Parents with kids and teens who have mental health issues have a lot of concerns around the child’s mental health when summer break approaches. This is normal as the summer is highly irregular with lots of play and at times no structure.
Parents have to carefully balance the need to allow their kids to have fun and yet maintain their routine at home. Inability to do so will cause damages to the progress made over the school year or with a counselor/therapist.
There is no clear cut rules to dealing with kids who have mental issues, but here are a few tips that can help:
- Have a talk with your child’s doctors. This will give you an idea of how much freedom to enjoy summer your kid can have.
- If your child is currently seeing a mental health professional; continue with sessions (do not disrupt their routine by canceling sessions)
- Find out if medication should be continued or discontinued. (In the case where medication should be continued, find out how much damage not sticking to a routine will cause.) This will help you plan for the summer ahead.
- Sit your kid down and have a talk with them. It is best to map out your plans and expectations for the summer. Let them understand why the restrictions and how much they can do to help reduce the damages of summer mental health issues due to lack of structure.
- Avoid restricting the kids to technology and television. No matter the extent of their mental health issues, encourage them to soak up some sun and fun. It will help them.
- Don’t get too busy in the summer. Apart from sitting them down to share expectations, you should try and spend time with them and be part of their summer fun.This is also a great way to monitor their activities and help maintain the routine.
All these strategies can help you get through the summer successfully.