A young girl anxiously pulls her sweater over the lower half of her face.

Tips to Help Kids Focus on the Positives of Summer Vacation like Family Fun and Ottawa Summer Camps

While many kids can’t wait for the last day of school, it’s also common for kids to feel anxious about the upcoming summer.

Children feel secure with their teachers, friends, and routines of the school year. So as the summer approaches, they don’t know what to expect. With a more relaxed summer schedule and distance from peers, this change can be scary for kids.

But you can help your kids cope with anxiety so they can enjoy a fun summer filled with family outings and making new friends at summer camps.

Here are tips to help you understand and manage your child’s anxiety about the last day of school.

Why Your Child Might Be Anxious About The Last Day Of School

As the last day of school approaches, children anticipate big changes to their daily routines. This anticipation of change can be a major contributor to your child’s anxiety.

Children thrive on structure and consistency, so when the unpredictable summer nears, they may feel less confident and more worrisome. Children with anxiety may find the end of the school year to be a significant life event that is hard to overcome.

Kids find comfort in school. Along with the regular daily routines of the school year, kids also find comfort in their teachers and peers. They build friendships and connections with others.

So when the end of the school year approaches, kids realize they won’t see their teachers and peers on a daily basis. The distance of their connections adds to the unpredictability and their anxiety.

How To Help Your Child Manage Their Anxiety

Be supportive. Don’t contribute to their fear and anxiety about the last day of school. Talking too much about end-of-year grades and summer plans can stress out your kids even more.

Be empathetic. Use empathy and validation when talking to your child about their stresses.

Make a summer schedule they will understand so they know what to expect for the next two months. Or go week by week if two months is too overwhelming. Post the schedule somewhere easy for them to read.

Have your child help you decorate and colour the schedule, and also help plan family outings. This will give them a sense of pride and ownership over their summer and boost their confidence.

Help them say goodbye to their friends and teachers. You can suggest they stay in touch throughout the summer—by phone, e-mail, or regular mail. This will help your child feel more connected and confident about their relationships with those they care about even while apart.

Three Months Before the Last Day

Start getting your child excited about the summer. Whether you’ve enrolled your child in an Ottawa summer camp, or you have family outings planned, involve your child in the discussion about summer activities.

One Month Before the Last Day

You should have a summer childcare plan in place by this time. Use these plans to create a summer schedule for your child. Create a schedule for what a typical day in the summer will look like for your kid. This new schedule and routine will give them a sense of structure and predictability for the summer to come.

Two Weeks Before the Last Day

Have a supportive discussion with your child about their emotions. Help them identify their emotions so they will gain a better understanding of what they are feeling.

Also, talk about what it means to say goodbye to people we care about. Although your child is saying goodbye to teachers and friends, this doesn’t mean goodbye forever. They will see their teachers and peers again in the fall, and they might even see their closest friends throughout the summer.

Help your child make gifts or cards for friends and teachers. And also encourage them to look forward to more fun with friends, old and new, in the upcoming months.

If you send your child to summer camp, they will make new friends this summer. And your child will also make new friends in their new class in the fall.

The Last Day of School

Help your child pack their goodbye gifts to bring to school. Use empathy and validation to help them cope with their emotions. Acknowledge how they are feeling and encourage them with love, support, and excitement for your summer plans together.

When your child returns home from school, listen without interruption. Once they are finished talking about their last day and their emotions, validate their feelings. If your child is sad, try to cheer them up with a fun family activity to celebrate their achievement of finishing a school year and the start of a fun summer.

You and your child can come up with fun activities to do all summer long, like camping out in the backyard, going swimming, or doing arts and crafts. Stay positive about summer activities, and go over the colourful summer schedule with your child to give them a heads up about upcoming activities. The more involved your child is with their schedule, the more predictable (and thus comforting) their summer will be.

Anxiety affects people of all ages, including young children. Life changes, including the change in routine at the end of the school year, can trigger anxiety in children, but you can help them cope and ease their worries by staying positive and supportive. You can also help them look forward to fun summer activities with family and friends at Ottawa summer camps.