Savoring August as a Family
By: Jamie Perillo, LPC
I was recently asked to make a list of ways to help kids with back to school anxiety, which I will share with you – but not today. Tomorrow is August first. If you live in the Northeast kids begin to head back to school beginning of September or the end of August (grimace). You and your kids can think about this in two ways: we only have a month until school starts or we still have a month left. Which one feels better? I prefer the latter.
Today kids are busier than ever, which means so are you. Between over scheduled activities and school’s increasing demands, I am seeing more anxious, overwhelmed, and stressed –out kids in my psychotherapy office. So, today, instead of writing about how to make the transition back to school easier I am writing about embracing summer this month.
Summer is the season of Abundance. Grab your flip flops and picnic baskets and head to the beach basking in the sun, jumping in the waves, resting in the arms of a summer’s breeze. Frolic with your kids through the freshly cut grass, play ball, jump in the pool, peruse the local famer’s markets and make a meal together savoring all of summer’s bounty. Rest under a tree, bare feet grazing through the grass and reading your favorite book. This is summer in all of its glory - a time to exhale, unwind, and recharge. You deserve it and so do your children.
I am not telling you to procrastinate the inevitable – I am asking you to enjoy the present. If your kids are excited to get their lunchboxes and backpacks by all means do it, but then put them away. Return to summer. This August I invite you to practice being in the moment – you and your family will feel relaxed and happier.
6 Ideas to Help You Savor Summer:
1. On index cards make a list of reasonable summer activities you and your family would like to do. Have each person place the cards in order beginning with their favorite activities and moving down. As a family decide which activities you would like to do throughout the month. Remember, this isn’t a plan to “go, go, go,” - make sure to leave time for lazy summer days because some of the best memories occur during unplanned time.
2. Practice presence. Breathe. Inhale. Notice the scents of freshly growing flowers, barbeque, newly cut grass, and salty ocean air. Exhale. Feel your feet on the grass or sand.
3. Express gratitude. What you are thankful for grows.
4. Take it slow. Schedule lazy days. Unscheduled down time allows for kids to use their creativity and imaginations.
5. Parent from your CORE. Take a moment to imagine what summer, ideally but realistically would look like for you and your family. How does that feel? Can you make a few small changes to get closer to that image?
6. Enjoy! Embrace your inner child with your family.