With the 2018-2019 school year coming to an end, children and parents are filled with anticipation for the summer days ahead. At the same time, the end of the school year can be overwhelming for children and parents alike. As the school year is quickly coming to a close, many families are experiencing heightened levels of stress as their kids’ schedules are packed, energy levels are low, and end-of-the-year exams, assignments, and projects cramp down on the hopefulness for carefree days ahead.
You may notice that your children, especially preteens and teens, are especially stressed out, short-tempered, or emotionally-drained by now. Behavioral concerns often start spiking at this time. This point in the school year may be when your child realizes that he or she may not have done as well as anticipated and the month of May becomes “go-time” to get grades up. For those of you who have children prone to procrastination, you may hear complaints that they will never be able to get ALL of their missing assignments in on time or see a proclivity to give up altogether. While tensions are bubbling, parents are also tasked with running around between spring activities like sports and musical performances, in addition to playing the role of the tireless cheerleader of final school projects. The good news is summer is around the corner and there are some things you can do to help get your kiddos through these last few weeks of school.
- Demands for flexibility go way up this time of year. Despite the excitement for year-end activities, such as class trips and field days, these added events still put a twist in kids’ schedules. A further wrench is added when end-of-the year exams are thrown into the picture. For some kids, the variety works well. For others, it can be extremely stressful. In general, kids do best when they know what to expect. This is a great time of year to utilize a big family calendar that includes any upcoming changes in family or school schedules. For kids who are more reliant on their typical schedules, parents are encouraged to plan for any changes in their weekly routines by giving ample amounts of notice as well as discussing what these changes may feel like for their children when they occur.
- Despite the hustle and bustle inherent to this time of year, it is imperative that kids are getting ample amounts of sleep. For some kids, end-of-school-year stress may leave them with nervous and racing thoughts popping up right as they are trying to go to bed. To help support healthy sleep patterns, consider relaxing ways to support children as they unwind at the end of the day such as, reading a book, a taking a warm bath, and listening to relaxing music. Remember that electronics can be highly stimulating; consider also having a “bedtime” for things like cell phones, tablets, TV and video games. Parents are encouraged to frequently check-in with their children and create space to talk about their feelings when needed.
- Parents may wish to build in special time at the end of each week to recognize and celebrate their kids’ efforts. This a great time to plan a kid-driven family activity such as watching a long-anticipated movie, playing a child’s favorite board game, or going for ice cream. Whatever it is you choose to do, keep it light and fun.
- Lastly, parents- make sure you are taking good care of yourselves. We encourage you to consider ways to build in additional self-care time outside of family obligations. Parents are arguably even more stressed than their children as things begin to wind down. Remember your kids are watching and learning from you. The more you can stay regulated in the midst of a very chaotic time, the more likely they are to follow suit. You can set a good example by staying attuned to your own emotions while modeling healthy self-care habits.
We wish you a great end to the school year and relaxing start to your summer. You are almost there! For additional ideas, feel free to contact us at (303)756-1197 and visit our website at www.elevatedinsights.org .