Bonus: Download this free printable!
Whether you’re launching a graduate or welcoming one home this summer, the routine you’ve settled into over the school year is sure to change.
Living with young adults feels a little like walking a tightrope over the Grand Canyon. Balancing trust and accountability is no easy feat, with major repercussions for slipping too far to either side.
Simple Strategies to Avoid Summer Slump
Don’t let end of school busyness keep you from thinking through some simple strategies to ensure this summer is full of happy memories with your student instead of unexpected frustrations. I’ve attached a printable guide to help you talk through the high points with your son or daughter (or both, in our case).
“Summer Slump” is the term coined to describe the post-semester blues that result from a combination of factors: change in daily routine, distance from friends, and unforeseen conflict in family and romantic relationships. About 1 in 3 students described themselves as depressed as a result of this phenomenon.
Quote: “Without our rigid schedules where our days are planned down to the minute, we begin to feel like we don’t know who we are anymore.”Hipple, Kaitlyn Skye, Post-Semester Depression, Odyssey, May 3, 2016
1. Get out the calendar
Young adults are notorious for misunderstanding time constraints. Pull out the calendar and start by figuring out just how many weeks are unaccounted for this summer. It may be fewer than you, or your student, think.
Next step: post any dates that are already scheduled, such as family vacations, weddings, deadlines and social events. These events will serve to break up the perception of monotony of the months stretching before us.
2. Take time to dream
Give your student permission to dream about what they’d like to do this summer. During my son’s last summer before college, he and his cousin organized a cross-country road trip to see their favorite band.
Although I was tempted to say “absolutely not” when he first presented the idea, the planning and responsibility he showed won me over. Put a lock on your lips and just listen. You may be surprised to see a new side of your kid.
Once they’ve had their say, it’s time for mom and dad to share their dreams for the summer. This might include something as simple as visiting the local snow cone stand or as epic as a major bike ride.
3. Discuss guidelines
Learn from my mistakes, my wonderful friends. Don’t assume your student knows what you expect from them this summer. You are making the transition from parenting to coaching, from living with your child to living with another adult.
It’s tough. It’s awkward. But we can do this. Setting simple guidelines about household chores, curfew, communication, use of car- will keep you from so many rolling eyeballs and slammed doors.
I grew up in a home with one bathroom. Not one full bath and one half bath- one toilet, one sink, one shower. So many battles could have been avoided and so many tears could have been saved had we just sat down and figured out a schedule. But then my sister and I wouldn’t have near the stories to tell, right?
4. Provide options
In the event that your teen’s answer to question 2 is “play videogames on the couch”, here’s some help. You, dear parent, will come to this conversation armed with some ideas for summer options. Here is the beauty of taking an hour to have this planning session in April versus waiting until June.
As you probably know, but your teen may not, now is the time to apply for and pursue a summer job, schedule an internship, or sign up for summer classes. I know, I know, you’re afraid this revelation will push your already-overwhelmed kid into overload. But here’s where your pre-work will pay off.
Show them support by offering to temporarily take something off their plate so they can have a couple of hours to fill out an application online or schedule a meeting with a local business owner.
5. Celebrate and model self-care
Summer is a great time for students to catch up on sleep, get into better eating habits or start an exercise program. But we can’t very well encourage them to do those things if we’re not doing them ourselves.
Choose a few goals you’d like to work on this summer. Your son or daughter will be more motivated by your actions than by nagging. Plan to celebrate reaching a weight or fitness goal as a family.
A Summer You’ll Cherish
The last few weeks of school will be over before we know it. Push the pause button and set aside some time for summer planning by using the printable provided. You’ll be glad you did when fall rolls around and you’re waving goodbye to your student once again.