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Practicing Self-Care in the Summertime

While summer break is known as a time where there are fewer schedules and more fun in the sun, it can be beneficial to create a self-care routine to ensure your child and family can balance this new relaxed schedule while making the most of all the summer fun! Establishing a summer self-care routine can not only benefit the physical and mental well-being of your child, but it can also be good for the entire family. Here are some tips to help your student establish their summer self-care routine:

  1. Set boundaries with screen time. It’s important to note that not all screen time is bad. With endless educational content available online, your child can learn a lot through watching informative videos or playing educational games. In order to keep a healthy boundary, however, moderation is key. Additionally, Kati Guernsey, Director of Child Services at Centerstone, recommends stopping the use of all technology at least an hour before bedtime to help the brain wind down.
  2. Healthy eating habits. It’s no secret that growing children need plenty of nutrients and protein-rich foods to help them grow. But with a different schedule and priorities during the summer, it can be hard to commit to healthy eating habits each day. One way to help alleviate the urge to snack throughout the day is to stick to set meal times, similar to those during the school year. Additionally, include your child in grocery shopping and allow them to choose their own healthy snacks. “Dietary habits don’t change much over time, so it’s important to set healthy habits early on,” adds Guernsey.
  3. Regular exercise. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends at least an hour of movement a day for anyone over the age of six. And while the type of movement may depend on your child’s age, movement can be fun and can include the entire family! Consider activities like family walks, gardening, or swimming at the local pool. On rainy days, your kids may enjoy learning a new form of movement such as kid-friendly yoga or even learning a new dance from an online tutorial. Check out local sports camps and classes in your community to see how your child can get involved.
  4. Quality sleep. Having a set sleep schedule is like magic for the body. As tempting as it can be to stay up late and sleep in during the summer months, try your best to get your child on a regular sleep schedule. However, this schedule does not have to be the same as it was during the school year – it’s unrealistic to expect your kids to willingly wake up at the same time as they would for school during the summer. Keep in mind that, depending on their age, kids should be getting anywhere from 8 to 12 hours of sleep each night.
  5. Social connection. Even though your kids may not see their friends and classmates daily during the summer break, that doesn’t mean that their social interaction has to pause. For younger kids, consider setting up play dates with some of their classmates in order to keep in touch over the summer. And, encourage your tweens and teens to set time each week to spend time with their friends, or to connect via video chat or messenger. Kids of any age may also enjoy supervised online gaming with their friends to as a way to stay connected and bond over a common interest. Plus, summer is a great time for extended trips to see family that may not live in the same city as you.

It might be hard at first to know what will work best when establishing a self-care routine for your child. “Ask them what they are doing when they feel the happiest,” adds Guernsey. “Knowing this will give you a good indication of what will work best for them.” Keep in mind that the parameters for what a realistic routine looks like will depend on the age of your child. Younger kids need more structure and parental oversight, whereas teens can have some liberty in making these routines and choices for themselves.

Regardless of their age, the best way you can help them stick to their summer routine is to model it for them. Create household rules and expectations, and stick to them. For example, if your child is expected to be screen-free for the last hour before bed, consider doing the same to show them why it’s important to do so.

In all, teaching kids how to start healthy habits when they’re young leads them on a path to make smart, healthy decisions as they grow up. Creating a healthy balance of fun and self-discipline is important, but if you feel that your child is experiencing barriers to establishing those good habits, Centerstone can help. For more information, call us at 877-HOPE123 (1-877-467-3123) or visit our counseling services page.



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