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Summer Break and Covid-19

Written by: Deiona Carter, M.S.
Summer Break and Covid-19

One of the most exciting parts of the year is here for students. Summer! Going to camp, hanging out with friends, and family trips are just a few of the things that Summer brings. However, our world has completely changed in the past 4 months. COVID-19 has forced us to change and adjust to things that we all thought were impossible before. Every child has been homeschooled, events have been canceled, and social interaction is at a minimum. With all these changes what does Summer look like? The school year being interrupted is one thing but summer plans being canceled can be devastating for kids. Especially when they attend the same camp every year or if they were looking forward to visiting family out of town. And we cannot forget about the times with friends that will be to a minimum.

Building peer relationships and feeling connected is a key developmental task of childhood and adolescence. Although kids are using social media to “connect” with friends, social distancing is giving us a reminder of just how important spending time with friends is to our mental health.  I’ve found that the experience of being physically separated from peers and friends is causing mixed feelings in kids. From loneliness to irritability and anxiety. And most of all boredom. This can be frustrating and disappointing for your child. Now that summer is here and so much has changed, they’ll need the support of the adults in their lives even more.

Here are some ways to support the kid in your life during summer break:

  1. Validate their feelings. Allow them to express how they are feeling about all the changes. Saying “Going to camp was very important to you, I can see how disappointed you are. It is normal to feel disappointed when things don’t go as planned” can be just what they need to hear.
  2. When they are feeling like everything is out of their control, help them to create a list of things that they can control. For example, connecting with family and friends virtually.
  3. Identify fun things that they can still do and things that you can do as a family this summer.
  4. Talk about why your family is practicing social distancing.
  5. Ask them how you can be supportive.