The summer holidays are often a much needed and much enjoyed break for our students. However, for many students, it is also a long period of time without their regular wellbeing routines and supports. Below are some ways you can help your child to care for their mental health during this time.
It is a fantastic idea to help your child create a safety or self-care plan for their holiday break. This will include activities they can do when they are feeling down, supports they can access during this time away from school and people they can call on bad days. These plans help your child to take responsibility for their wellbeing and encourages help-seeking behaviour. You can make your own by hand or on a computer, or find an example here.
Keep a Routine
Whether you create a self-care plan or not, it is important that your child keeps a regular routine throughout the holidays, even if it is altered from their usual one. Help them to think through what their holiday bed time and wake time will be. It is also a great idea for them to choose something to do each morning (ie a self-affirmation) to start their day well and something to do each night (ie read for 15 minutes) to end their day well. These small rituals and routines spark positive neural pathways in the brain and release chemicals that make us feel relaxed.
Encourage your kids to make time for rest, hobbies, social activities and family time. Having a well-rounded schedule will give them the best chance of regulating their emotions well.
Social Media Breaks
Try to enforce tech boundaries (see my article from Term 4, Week 5) that will protect your child from comparison fatigue, unnecessary social pressure and tech addiction that negatively impacts brain structure, mood and sleep. Not an easy feat, but a worthwhile one!
Check In Regularly
If you still feel concerned about your child’s mental health, I encourage you to continue with any psychology sessions they may already be having, or to book in regular appointments with your family GP throughout the holidays. Providing frequent opportunities for your child to accept help will let them know that they are loved and cared for, even if that is not the story their brain is telling them.
Student Wellbeing Coordinator