By Rea Doumana, MSc Clinical Psychologist, Mental Health Counselor and Psychotherapist
Amid a period of doubt as it relates to a summer amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents are seeking ways to stull enjoy their summer holidays. The truth is, the quarantine built a sense of fear within us on all levels about the future. Most of us have not made their summer plans yet… As adults were called to face difficult and most likely new challenges. And our children? They in particular, now more than ever, have an abundance of pent-up energy that needs to be released!
How can parents help their children enjoy a relaxing summer?
Perhaps the younger children will go to their grandparents for some time. Even if this is the case, we have to find a way for the summer holidays to be beneficial for both parents and their children.
First of all, it’s important to spend quality time with your child. This means that on the one hand you have to create space for your child to creatively use their energy for different activities, but on the other hand you must motivate them to build their skills. When you’re at the beach, spend some time together… play together, explore together, learn together about the complexity of the sea – and remember to always use teaching tools and games. Avoid endless hours in front of screens. It’s important to have alone time, but screen time can’t be used as a babysitter as it does not help your child develop their abilities. Let your child be bored! When parents are always making sure that their child is having a good time, they enter a vicious cycle: they are always stressed about their child and can never themselves feel relaxed. They are then constantly putting all their energy into if everyone else is having a good time. Boredom is motivating – it can help your child discover new interests.
For older children who are going through their teenage years, it’s important to give them space to explore their self-worth and to support their positive self-esteem. Don’t just say no to their every request. Before responding, think about they will react to hearing a “no.” Encourage them to go out, meet new people, make new friends and discover new interests. However, you shouldn’t tell them what they should be doing and what they shouldn’t. The summer time is a period when we all feel the need to let go of our daily routine – especially now after what we all went through the last couple of months. Show your children that you trust them, so long as they make good decisions. Talk to them, have a clear dialogue without shouting or fighting. Try to put yourself in their shoes to understand how they feel. They want to be independent, be an adult – and it’s you who has to show them how/ Without shouting, with calm head and open mind.
If we are able to follow these tips, everyone in the family can take some rest and together enjoy a nice summer.