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Summer Break Survival Guide: Tips for Supporting Your Child’s Mental Health

Clinical Review by: Jacqueline Mitchell, LMSW

Summer is almost here, and with the end of the school year, many parents might feel a mix of excitement and anxiety. The change in routine can bring about noticeable shifts in your child’s mood and behavior. While summer break is a time for fun, relaxation, and new adventures, it can also be a period of stress and uncertainty, especially for children who thrive on structure.

As a parent, it’s important to recognize that you are not alone in navigating these challenges. Here are some simple and practical tips to help support your child’s mental health during the summer months.

Create a New Summer Routine

Sure, summer is a perfect time to relax, but maintaining some sort of routine can help provide stability for your child. Work together to create a daily schedule that includes fun activities, time for relaxation, and opportunities for learning. This can help give your child a sense of purpose and reduce feelings of boredom and restlessness. Think of it as a “flexible schedule” – a blend of freedom and structure.

Encourage Healthy Choices

Balance is key. While it’s okay to indulge in treats and take time to rest, maintaining healthy habits is crucial for mental well-being. Encourage your child to stay active, eat nutritious foods, maintain responsibility and get enough sleep. These habits can have a positive impact on their overall mood and energy levels. Remember, a happy body supports a happy mind.

Explore New Hobbies

Without the structure of school, your child might feel a lack of purpose. Encourage them to explore new hobbies or activities they’ve been interested in. Whether it’s painting, playing an instrument, exploring new parks or joining a summer sports league, finding a new passion can help fill their time and boost their self-esteem. Summer is the perfect time to dive into those “I’ve always wanted to try” activities.

Stay Attuned to Behavioral Changes

While sleeping in and relaxing more during the summer is normal, it’s important to stay aware of any significant changes in your child’s behavior. If you notice signs of withdrawal, frustration, or a loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed, it might be time to check in with them. Don’t hesitate to seek additional support if needed. Sometimes a daily check in is all that is needed.

Plan Family Activities

Summer is an excellent time to create lasting memories with your child. Plan activities that you can enjoy together, whether it’s a trip to the movies, a hike, or simply playing games at home. These moments of quality time can strengthen your bond and provide your child with a sense of security and happiness. Plus, it’s a great excuse to be a kid again yourself!

Different Family activities: Family outing schedule: a family event should be taking place weekly
for quality time together. Here is a list of ideas of what family time can consist of:

  • Game Night
  • Baking
  • Cooking (my favorite is “create your own pizza night”)
  • Bowling
  • Ice Skating
  • Picnic
  • Fruit Picking
  • Create a herb Garden
  • Arts & Crafts (Homemade ornaments, slime, paintings, etc.)
  • Go to a museum
  • Take a day trip to a near place
  • Card game
  • Restaurant
  • Get ice cream
  • Go to the movies
  • Attend a family-friendly event or festival in your community, such as a food festival, street fair, or cultural celebration
  • Spend a day at the zoo or aquarium, exploring the different animals and exhibits.
  • Visit a local park

Utilize Available Resources

Remember, you don’t have to navigate this alone. There are many resources available to help support your child’s mental health. Backpack Healthcare offers a range of tools, including our app with journaling features and other self-care resources, to assist you and your child on this journey. Our goal is to make mental health support accessible and relatable for everyone.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can help ensure that your child has a fulfilling and enjoyable summer break. Remember, it’s okay to reach out for help and support when you need it. You are not alone in this, and together, we can make this summer a positive experience for your family.


For more tips and resources, download our app, which offers journaling features and other self-care tools to help support your child’s mental health. Let’s work together to make this summer a happy and healthy one for your family.

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