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Summertime Mental Health Maintenance
As summertime is nearing, now is the time to plan ahead for how to maintain mental health for children while school is out.
Here are 5 tips for summertime mental health maintenance:
- Support kids in maintaining interaction with other children. Lack of socialization for youth can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation, depression, and anxiety. When possible, get kids involved in activities that allow for interaction with other kids through the summer. Consider if it would be helpful to get contact information for other families that your child gets along with to arrange taking turns hosting play dates.
- Maintain as much consistency and routine as possible. A predictable rhythm and routine can help reduce stress and anxiety for kids, which in turn reduces the amount of acting out or negative behavior a child might display in response.
- Limit screen time. Recent research has shown that excessive screentime is damaging the portion of the brain that controls impulse control and decision making. Give kids opportunities to develop their brain utilizing creativity and problem solving without electronics.
- Get back to basics. Eating healthy foods, drinking plenty of water and getting physical activity help support healthy mind and body.
- Maintain healthy sleep patterns. Experts recommend 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night for children. Summertime is no exception. Children will become more dysregulated and will find it harder to manage emotions and positive decision making when they are overly tired.
Amber Lentz, LISW-S, RPT-S
Senior Director of Clinical and Community Programs