Summer is a time of excitement and adventure for children, offering a break from the regular school routine and a chance to explore new activities. However, it’s also essential to focus on maintaining and promoting mental health during these months. This guide was created to help parent with promoting mental health in summer by proving practical tips. Here are some key indicators of mental heath struggles followed by strategies to ensure your child has a mentally healthy summer.


Signs of Anxiety or Depression in Children

  • Frequent sadness, irritability, or crying
  • Loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy
  • Changes in appetite or sleep patterns
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Clinginess or separation anxiety
  • Physical complaints like headaches or stomachaches
  • Withdrawn behavior or social isolation
  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide

Importance of Routine

Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule is crucial for stabilizing mood and improving overall mental health. Encourage your child to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even during summer breaks. Additionally, establishing simple daily routines, such as regular meal times and designated times for activities, can provide a sense of structure and stability.

Learn more about the effectiveness of implementing a routine for your children on this routine-focused blog: Children and Routines: A Positive Relationship.


Physical Activity

Physical activity is vital for reducing stress and improving mood, so encourage your child to play outside, whether it’s riding a bike, playing tag, or simply running around. Engaging your child in sports or active games not only keeps them physically active but also helps develop social skills, teamwork, and a sense of achievement.

Dive deeper into the relationship between exercise and mental health: Mental Health Benefits of Exercise for Children.


Creative Activities

Creative activities like drawing, painting, or crafting can be therapeutic and help children express their emotions. Involving your child in music and dance activities can also boost their mood and provide a fun way to stay active.


Reading and Learning

Many local libraries offer summer reading programs that can keep your child mentally stimulated and foster a love for reading. Additionally, incorporating fun, educational activities into your child’s routine, such as science experiments, nature walks, and museum visits, can be both entertaining and informative.

Read more about the power of reading in The Benefits of Reading for Children and Teens.


Mindfulness and Relaxation

Introducing simple mindfulness exercises or yoga routines can help children manage stress and improve focus. Teaching your child relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises can further help manage anxiety and promote calmness, which are essential for mental health in summer.


Social Connections

Social interactions are crucial for mental health, so arrange safe playdates or group activities to help your child build and maintain friendships. Family bonding activities, such as picnics, game nights, and outings, also strengthen family connections and provide emotional support.


Nutrition and Hydration

A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains supports mental health. Involve your child in meal planning and preparation to make healthy eating fun. Additionally, remind your child to drink plenty of water, especially during hot summer days, to stay hydrated and maintain energy levels.

Check out our Mindful Snacking for Kids and Teens blog for snack inspiration.


Screen Time Management

While screen time can be part of summer fun, it’s essential to balance it with physical and outdoor activities. Set limits to ensure screens don’t interfere with sleep or physical play, and encourage the use of educational and mentally stimulating apps and programs during screen time.

Discover professional screen time recommendations based on age in this focused blog: Screen Time Recommendations by Age.


Dealing with Boredom

Create lists of activities that your child can do when they feel bored, such as reading, puzzles, board games, or outdoor play. Unstructured time can also encourage creativity and imagination, so provide materials for imaginative play, such as building blocks, dress-up clothes, and art supplies.


Parental Involvement

Be a supportive listener for your child, encouraging them to talk about their feelings and experiences while providing reassurance and guidance. Educate yourself on the signs of stress or anxiety in children and consider seeking professional help if you notice any concerning behaviors.


Travel and New Experiences

Family vacations can offer a break from routine and provide new, enriching experiences, so plan trips that include activities your child enjoys. Exploring local parks, hiking trails, and other natural settings can also be calming and refreshing for children.


Community Resources

Many communities offer programs and camps focused on mental health and well-being. Research local options and consider enrolling your child. Additionally, look for support groups or community activities that promote mental health, as these can provide additional support and social interaction.


Positive Reinforcement

Help build your child’s self-esteem by acknowledging their efforts and achievements, as positive reinforcement can boost confidence and motivation. Celebrate small achievements to foster a sense of accomplishment and pride in your child.

Summer is a time for fun and relaxation, but it’s also an opportunity for promoting mental health in summer in meaningful ways. By maintaining routines, encouraging physical activity, fostering creativity, and being involved, you can help ensure your child has a happy and mentally healthy summer. The key takeaway is a balanced approach that includes both structure and freedom can make a significant difference in your child’s overall well-being.

Sources: Nemours, American Academy of Pediatrics, Very Well Mind, The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Very Well Family, Healthline