During any period of transition, the body and mind naturally absorb a certain level of stress. This applies to transitioning from school to summer. Even something as seemingly simple and fun as going on a vacation can cause stress because it’s a deviation from the normal routine.
Many people can manage the adjustment on their own, but some cannot. That’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with seeking guidance with these and other challenges, especially for school-aged kids.
“It’s important to look out for changes in your child’s behavior,” said Kelly Rivadeneyra, LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker). “For example, if their sleep patterns are off, interests come to a screeching halt, they seem irritable, or they’re not engaging with other people, these could be signs that they’re struggling and need support.”
In addition to managing the annual transition to summer schedules and activities, there are a number of reasons why summer counseling at Nutley Family Service Bureau may be a good idea for a child.
The general assumption is that students can’t wait for school to be over and summer vacation to start. For many children, once the thrill of the last day of school subsides, the lack of everyday connection with peers can lead to social isolation.
“Kids often go through an adjustment period during summer, which can lead to feelings of loneliness,” Kelly said. “Counseling provides a safe space where kids can share their thoughts and feelings and learn coping skills to manage social isolation.”
During the school year, kids have structure for the school day. With sports, dance, Scouts, and other activities, entire days can be mapped out during the school year. Summer often has limited structure, which can cause problems when kids go back to school. Kids might sleep late and spend too much time with technology.
“Most kids thrive off predictability and routine,” Kelly said. “Counseling can help kids create and maintain structure with physical activity and activities that stimulate their minds, which can reduce anxiety, improve their overall health, and help them prepare for the next school year.”
If a child had significant behavioral issues, schools have probably referred the child for counseling. For kids who have just begun to show negative patterns of behavior, now is the time to act. Counseling is an opportunity for children to reflect on what went well at school, what didn’t go well, and what exactly triggered negative behavior or performance.
“Summer gives us time to assess what was happening, pinpoint the causes of these issues, and build emotional regulation and stress management skills,” Kelly said. “We can also collaborate with the school counselor or social worker to help the child be more successful and build accommodations if necessary. It’s much better to create a plan early than waiting until late August.”
From a purely logistical standpoint, children’s schedules are more open during summer than spring and fall. Similarly, schedules for working parents are often less hectic during summer months. At NFSB, you can schedule an appointment right away!
If you’d like to schedule an appointment for your child at the Mental Health Center at Nutley Family Service Bureau, please call 973-667-1884.