With Memorial Day in the rear-view mirror, and temperatures soaring into the 90’s, many of us are excited to begin an enjoyable summer. We at Connections CFC find that parents debate about continuing or beginning counseling services during the summer months. Vacations, camps, and holidays can interrupt regular therapy participation, leading to consideration of terminating therapy. Typical challenges that are noticed during the school year often seem to “disappear” during the more relaxed summer months. This can be due to less school pressure or structured activities during the summer. Unfortunately, as soon as the requirements ramp up again, often so does anxiety, stress, depression, and acting out.
As much as summer heralds a welcome break from hectic school schedules, it also brings with it long days with little structure. This too, can lead to more behavioral and emotional challenges due to boredom and loneliness.
Summer provides the perfect opportunity to “get a jump on” or “ramp up” counseling in preparation for the upcoming school year. Counseling in the summer allows for maintenance and practice of previously learned skills, which might atrophy without regular support. It also helps families be proactive about potential challenges or issues for the next school year. During therapy, children can learn new coping techniques and “beef up” their coping toolbox.
Summer Counseling Benefits:
During the school year, many families find it difficult to commit to a regular, weekly counseling schedule. Therapy appointments can feel like just one more thing to squeeze into an already jam-packed schedule. This is unfortunate because we know from both experience and research that consistent attendance for an average of 8 sessions yields the best and most long-standing results for kids. Also, we know parents prefer afterschool appointments to avoid missing valuable educational material. However, only so many afterschool hours are available, making it difficult for us to accommodate every child who needs our services. During the summer, children often have more availability to participate regularly in counseling and are flexible in times they can come.
Get Ready for New School Challenges
With each advancing grade, children are required to be more independent, have greater organization and self-management skills, and exhibit increased maturity. Academic requirements increase, along with social pressures and changes in class dynamics. Unfortunately, schools often do not do a great job preparing our students for these challenges. Support in these areas can be hit or miss depending on the teacher and the availability of class time. Counseling is an excellent place for children to learn skills they are missing, such as planning, organization, navigating bullying, handling peer pressure, and making friends. Our clinicians are able to tailor their interventions to your child’s specific needs.
Increase Emotional Intelligence
Counseling provides space for kids to improve their emotional health. They become more aware of their feelings, learn to express and verbalize those feelings effectively, and understand how their behavior impacts others. Therapy is a great opportunity for self-reflection and increasing self-awareness. At Connections CFC our therapists teach kids valuable life skills to handle stress, manage big feelings, and regulate their emotions in the face of challenges. Research now indicates that lifelong success is predicted more by someone’s emotional intelligence, then academic achievement. There is no time like the present to support your child’s growth in this area.
Academic requirements these days are demanding and draining for even the most successful student. Unfortunately, we often get kids at the end of an already exhausting day, making it difficult for them to engage in further mentally or emotionally challenging tasks. For that reason, summer provides a perfect opportunity for kids to get the most out of each counseling session. They have less responsibilities and pressures during the summer and arrive to therapy sessions fresh and ready to work.
While the few responsibilities of summer can be relaxing, it can also lead to boredom. Many kids end up playing hours of video games, chilling on the couch, or even sleeping the day away. Having a regular schedule for counseling sessions can provide some structure to the endless freedom and give your child a sense of accomplishment.
Like boredom, summer can also lend itself to isolation and loneliness. Participating in counseling sessions, whether individual or group, gives your child opportunities for social interaction and play. Therapy provides a springboard for improving interpersonal communication and working on general social skills. These can be very valuable to students in the following school year.
Continuing, or starting, counseling sessions during the summer is a valuable use of time during summer for kids. If you’re ready to provide structure and work on goals this summer, give us a call to set up an initial appointment.