During regular busy months, the focus is on getting things accomplished, whether at work or at school, therefore communication is primarily reserved for weekends and holidays between short breaks in completing all the chores. Each family member has his/her responsibilities and obligations, so sometimes having too much time on their hands can really show how close – or not - family members are.
In my professional practice I used to work a lot with families and children. I think that summer is a great time for reconnecting with your family members. With a couple of weeks left before the school starts, it is still time to take that trip (even you may think you don’t have time); Florida offers not just wonderful beaches, but also parks and museums.
At the same time, this is also an opportunity to really listen to your children. When was the last time you listened to your child without judgment or criticism and simply let the guard off? Parents would often tell me that they are worried that their children will get too much “off track.” While it is true that children who struggle at school need more guidance and work on their reading skills, for example, they also need time to relax and just “be.”
We also need to pay attention to their mental health. John Duffy, a clinical psychologist and author of The Available Parent: Radical Optimism for Raising Teens and Tweens says that depression driven by loneliness often becomes more pronounced in the summer since summer is a far less-structured time of year than any other season.” (Read more at http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/mental-health-summer-depression-adhd-0430125/
Here are a few tips on how to talk to your children in preparation for a new school year:
- Pay attention to their moods, sometimes it is more than just “feeling blue”. Children’s symptoms generally manifest as irritability and anger. Give them some time to vent their feelings and don’t make them wrong.
- Provide some kind of structure in addition to having fun time. This will also ensure that transition into new school year is not so drastic. It can be as simple as deciding which activities they will do that day/week so that they have something to look forward to.
- Discuss in advance what the expectations and schedule will be during the school year. Again, don’t just dictate, engage them in a discussion. What extra-school activities do they have interest in? What time are they supposed to do their homework and when is the bed time? This also varies depending on their age.
- Make learning a fun experience; there is more than one way to accomplish the same result.