Summer break is around the corner! The psychological and physiological benefits of summer are hard to beat. However, while summer allows for a break from the routine and structure of the school year, for some children and youth, it can be stressful to be away from school. So, while the stressors change when the last school bell signals summer, they don't disappear.
Here at a few tips for summer well-being to keep everyone safe and having fun in the sun!
Get outside. With longer and warmer days, try to spend more time outdoors which increases our vitamin D intake and allows us more time to exercise and connect with nature. A minimum of 60 minutes of daily physical activity is recommended for all children and youth. Healthy body = healthy mind.
Always stay hydrated. Replace sugary sports drinks & sodas with water; add slices of fresh fruit like strawberries, lemons, limes or watermelons to your water for a delicious flavor. Staying hydrated prevents heat related illness: symptoms are headache, cold sweats, exhaustion, nausea and/or vomiting, and diarrhea.
Get plenty of rest. During the hot summer heat, making sure you get plenty of rest is important to prevent heat exhaustion. While playing outside, take frequent shaded breaks and use sunscreen. Getting 8-10 hours of sleep every night is important for recuperation and growth.
Wear safety gear. Whether you are riding your bike or swimming in a pool always wear the recommended safety gear. Being safe reduces stress for everyone! A good rule is that if you are not doing an activity safely; you will not be allowed to do it.
Be safe on-line. Some students will stay in-touch over the summer primarily on-line. Remember that some people will use electronic media to embarrass, harass, or threaten their peers. When there is cyberbullying occurring remember to save it, report it, and block it. If the incident is criminal call Peel Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
Constant communication for the win! Using open ended questions with children and youth can help identify fears, anxieties and concerns. Ask questions like, "How are you feeling about going to summer camp?" In addition, communicating expectations about what is going to occur during the summer will help to ease transitions. Saying, "I am inviting relatives to stay with us in July" or saying, "You will need to be in bed by 9 pm on weekdays this summer" allows children and youth time to adjust to what will occur.
Over summer break remember that HELP is always available:
Peel Children's Centre maintains a Crisis Response Service (24/7/365) if your child is experiencing a serious mental health problem at 416-410-8615
Kids Help Phone is Canada's only national 24-hour, bilingual and anonymous phone counselling, web counselling and referral service for children and youth. 1-800-668-6868.