We are halfway through summer break. Are you starting to notice that your child has gone from being happy to be out of school and loving life to becoming more of a bored zombie around the house? Structure may be the key, but in moderation.
Any of my clients know how much I love the words “balance” and “moderation.” I am a big advocate of how structure can help alleviate many challenges. However, I also believe that there is such a thing as too much structure. For example, during the school year, it is common to hear students struggle because they have 7 classes worth of homework, sports practice, music lessons, additional learning classes, etc. in their weekly schedule. This creates lots of structure for them, meaning they know they have X amount of time to complete homework, so they get right to it, or they go to bed at the same time every night and get a healthy amount of sleep. However, they may also be struggling with their friendships because they don’t have time to commit to them, or perhaps their diet is not sustainable because they don’t have time to make nutritious snacks. Nothing about this structure is necessarily bad, each child adapts differently to structure. It is more a matter of finding the balance.
What does balance look like in your daily and weekly schedule? Do you feel you have enough time for all your responsibilities? Does thinking about it stress you out?
What about the opposite end of the scenario? The students who barely have homework and don’t participate in anything outside of school. Does it seem like they have too much free time? Does this cause problems too? For the summer, this may be what many students are struggling with. They went from being busy all the time to having virtually nothing to do.
Whether it is mid-summer or mid-school year, talk to your students about finding the balance. Are there things they want to try or learn over the summer, a new hobby or language? Do they feel like there is too much already happening and they just want more of a break? Basically, how can you support your child in meeting expectations but also still feel like they can be a kid? You may be surprised by what they tell you if you ask your child these questions. Communication is always the key to supporting the best version of your child.